Kelly Khumalo Cancels Zimbabwe Gig in solidarity with Somizi Mhlongo

There have been mixed feelings on Zimbabwe’s refusal of entry to Somizi Mhlongo on grounds that he is homosexual.

Somizi had planned visit to Zimbabwe however, his visit was blocked by the government because of his sexual orientation.

Somizi was scheduled for a visit to Zimbabwe, following an invitation by Garwe Restaurant, a prime eatery in Harare, for an exhibition cooking event this coming weekend.

However, the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) wrote to the president’s office and other ministries, including tourism and foreign affairs, saying: “Somizi is a homosexual, hence according to our people driven constitution, Zimbabwe doesn’t tolerate homosexuality,”

The restaurant had closed doors in 2018 for extensive renovations, it is reported following a US$2 million capital injection.

Garwe owner Mandy Mvukwe-Chimhini is said to be a personal friend of Somizi , and had invited the former Idols judge and host of a celebrity cook-off show on South African TV.

Mandy Mvukwe-Chimhini was contacted directly by the ruling party ZanuPF and asked to cancel Somizi’s invite.

Zanu PF’s youth league confirmed it had made direct contact with Mvukwe-Chimhini and demanded that she uninvites Somizi or face protests. A group of Apostolic churches also weighed in by writing a letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa calling for Mhlongo to be barred, claiming that if he came to Zimbabwe that would result in immorality among children.

Faced with this situation the restaurant dropped Somizi and opted for yet another South African artist Kelly Khumalo.

However, the South African singer Kelly Khumalo made a last-minute cancellation of her scheduled appearance at the Garwe restaurant opening in solidarity with celebrity chef Somizi Mhlongo.

Khumalo had recorded a video confirming her expected appearance at the re-opening of Garwe Restaurant in Eastlea, Harare, before learning that she had been drafted in as a replacement for her friend, Mhlongo.

Khumalo was eventually a no-show, and guests at the event were told exactly why the Empini-hitmaker had decided to stay away.

“Unfortunately, Kelly can’t be with us tonight. She has opted to stand in solidarity with Somizi,” a spokesman for the eatery said.

The restaurant had closed doors in 2018 for extensive renovations, it is reported following a US$2 million capital injection.

Garwe Restaurant, with a capacity for 200 diners, is famed for its signature traditional dishes.

Zimbabwe considers sex between men an “indecent act” punishable with a prison term and gay marriage is banned under the 2013 constitution. Widely held conservative views mean that gay people face great stigma.

South Africa became the first African country to legalise same-sex marriage – back in 2006 – and its constitution guards against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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