Here's something a little different for you this Monday; we spoke to the first Namibian gay married couple, Ricardo Amunjera and Mark Themba. The couple have taken a bold step that we hope many others will take in the African continent. They shared the experience with Sandile Nene.
How did you and Marc meet?
I remember my family came to visit so I had all these young kids running around in my place and I got a call from a really close friend asking if he could give my number to a Facebook friend and with a little bit of doubt I said yes. At that time I was totally convinced that nothing will happen so I wasn’t bothered with the outcome. I also remember going into the bathroom as that was the only place that was noise free at that moment and Marc called. He introduced himself and I smiled at that moment. I loved his accent and the more he spoke the more I became extremely interested in the conversation. Before we knew it we were 20 minutes into the conversation and remember this is an international call. I remember after our call ended I smiled and walked out and immediately went through his Facebook profile.
Was it more like a 'love at first sight' kind of thing or it all happened unexpectedly? And I know that you guys have been married for over a year now, where did you meet?
It was more like love at first conversation. After our very first conversation I remember receiving calls all day every day and then our two hour skype sessions every night followed. At that moment I knew whatever was at work between us was absolutely beautiful. At that moment I knew it was right. I fell in love with the idea of spending my life with this stranger. We were never really friends. I can’t really remember when we officially said that we’re now in a relationship and monogamous. We met as strangers and somewhere during our long conversations we fell in love without knowing we did.
I remember during one of our Skype sessions our network was extremely poor so he called my phone while we were busy on Skype. I remember him saying– “Ricardo Iam going to marry you. I can’t see my life without you. I know iam a stranger but this is me telling you how I feel. I can’t imagine living another day without you in my life. “
During all the talking his phone went dead but he never realised it died. I could still see and hear him on Skype so I didn’t want to interject so I let him continue speaking without saying a word. About 5 minutes after the phone died he realised I wasn’t responding and only then did he actually see that the phone died. He asked if I heard what he said and I said yes. OMG wasn’t he relieved. I remember him saying that he would not have been able to repeat himself as it came from the heart. During all of this I could hear my own heart beating. It was truly an out of body experience.
How long did it take you to get to know each other before deciding to get married?
Marc knew that very moment that he wanted to marry me. I only just saw I was married!! No proposal, no dating etc! Just Got Married & the rest is history!!! LOL
Did you tell both your families before deciding to get married, did you speak to both your families? Was it easy for them to understand your decision or it took them some time to?
Both of our families knew that we were planning to get married and they were extremely important. MY family immediately fell in love with Marc upon meeting him. There is just something about him that draws you in whether you like it or not. Ask me I know J
As you both decided to come and get married here in South Africa, weren't you scared of being attacked or killed when you return home?
I live a free and liberated life in Namibia. Our constitution doesn’t legally recognise our union but I never had any fear of being attacked or killed apon our return nor did I have any fears of being attacked when we went to South Africa. We need to understand that my sexuality is embraced in my community and that Namibia isn’t anywhere close to how Uganda is. I know it’s not as liberated in its legal system as South Africa but I don’t have to be afraid of people knowing Iam gay.
So as you have started using social media as an activist, have you ever thought of visiting schools and going out to the public to motivate and teach them more about homosexuality?
I find social media to be the hub reaching out to countless communities that needs empowerment. I remember the torment I had to endure during my school years and therefore only reason why I never considered going to schools is simply because as liberating as it may appear for that second while Iam there, that might not be the case when I leave. I came out as a gay man when I felt personally ready to face the world. I don’t want my presence at any community platform to be deemed as promoting, forcing or simply placing a microscope on any LGBT individuals that are not ready to come out.
Last weekend the LGBTI community celebrated International Day Against Homophobia. What does this day mean to you?
IDAHO - An absolute beacon of hope and a manifestation of our sheer determination to ride not only Africa but the world from the barbaric clutches of those that deem our life a sin. When we March the streets in celebration it’s us paying homage to the countless LGBT fallen heroes that paved the way for us to be able to celebrate this day. This is our way of saying thank you for your courage, thank you for believing in the principle of Human rights for all and most importantly thanking them that their bravery now allowed us to be brave ourselves marching forward.
How often do you and your husband and where was your last holiday?
Our last holiday was over the Easter weekend. When Iam able to accumulate leave days we always manage take short times or simply lock ourselves in our home and relax the time away.
Let's talk love and relationships, how does one see if a particular person is 'the one'?
At that moment I felt he was the right person for me going forward. Remember we all put our best foot forward at first. So it’s all about allowing you to take the leap of faith and pray to God that it works out.
It's very normal for a couple to fight or don't agree on certain things. What would you say is the best way to deal with each others differences?
Never put your partner in a position that you would never wish to find yourself in. When you did wrong apologize. Ask for forgiveness but don’t repeat the same damn mistake over and over again and be honest about your feelings to each other.
List 5 facts about Marc and Ricardo?
- Marc is my husband and I am His,
- He is my best friend and I am his,
- He makes me smile when I am mad as hell and I am not afraid to love him.
- I love him so much and I pray for his wellbeing all the time.
- I can’t imagine my life without him,
- He is God’s manifestation of what loving another person should feel like.
Your message to a young gay couple who looks up to you.
Remember we all got our flaws. Love deep; appreciate the presence of your partner in your life. Allow your love to radiate the best version of who you are at all time. Leave the standards at the door and when you walk in make living together the most amazing part of your day. Something you can look forward to.