Frank Malaba Speaks on Being Unapologetically Gay
Our conversation was sparked by a poem on this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on the17 May. Frank had shared a piece of prose that spoke as loudly as words on paper could. The weight of gayness in an unforgiving world.
“I am not strong all the time. Sometimes I am so weak that I cannot see myself in the mirror. Sometimes there’s black, ubiquitous smoke in my soul and I can’t see me.” – Frank Malaba
I knew Frank, but not personally. We had been in a few mutual WhatsApp groups where his sassy memes and twangy voice notes were occasionally deposited. I had heard of his work and the gifting of Creative Talents. What often stood out to me was not his queerness but how un-sorry he was for being.
“When I was 16 I had faced two decisions, to come out or to commit suicide,” Frank explained to me, when I finally plucked the courage to speak with him.
Frank came out as a teen not too long after former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had made derogatory animal references to the Gay community. Regardless, Frank could not be confined to the ideals of his surroundings.
“I felt like I didn’t exist…I would have to came out and become the most upstanding person I knew.”
Based in Cape Town South Africa, Frank Malaba is a Zimbabwean Actor, Playwright and Poet who is not blind to the privilege of being in a country whose legal system acknowledges the rights of the LGBTIQ+ Community as LGBT rights are fortified in the South African Constitution.
“I am really blessed to be here and try to use my time to help people who are on difficult journies of self-discovery beyond these borders”
When Frank was asked what he thought was fueling African homo/trans/bi-phobia, his answer was concise; fear of the unknown;
“It is a lack of understanding and a lack of celebration of the human spirit and diversity that makes people truly afraid of accepting anyone who doesn’t fall within the lines of what they deem hetro-normative,” he said.
According to reports, four out of ten LGBT South Africans know of someone who has been murdered “for being or suspected of being” lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender yet Franks stays resilient.
“Living my truth and not being the fake someone else has really changed the course of my existence and the trajectory of my life.” he said.
As Frank concluded, he suggested rather provocatively that coming out should be done away with;
“I don’t agree that there is a need for people coming out in 2019 people should just be people,” he said in finality.