By Bernard Nel. Growing up in Africa, a confused and awkward boy, I made few friends, and most of them felt like concessiobenns to the popular crowd on my part to fit it. I was teased and everybody thought I was gay, and mocked me behind my back, even my so called friends. It wasn’t until leaving school and starting to work that I met a real friend. An artist, a writer, a painter, a lover of life. We became very close, and it took me very much by surprise when he told me that he was in fact gay, and that he was quite in love with me.

We were best friends for a decade, living a few houses apart, spending almost all our free time together. Being there for each other through difficult relationships, job & financial crises, spiritual angst and the deaths of loved ones. It is through his love and care that I have come to understand what sexuality means, and what friendship means.

When my girlfriend met him and got to know him, she also became very close to him. And when she saw the Kukuxumusu t-shirt in honour of gay-rights in Uganda, she knew she had to buy it for me for my birthday. Every time I wear it, I think of the freedoms of expression we celebrate here in my home, and I feel fear and sadness for those who live in countries where one’s right to be who you are is threatened and people are victimized for living what they believe. Now that my best-friend has moved far away it is one of the few links I have to him, this shirt, this knowledge.

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