MALAWI SHOCK: Monjeza Breaks Up With Chimbalanga, Proposes To Woman, Disavows ‘Gay Trash’

After the outcry about the unfairly imprisoned Malawi couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga and their eventual release, Monjeza has dumped “Aunt Tiwo” to marry a woman saying that he no longer wishes to be associated with “gay trash” and would rather stay in Malawi with his new fiancee rather than go to a foreign land “to be used by gay men.” Ugh.

Here’s what Monjeza had to say:

“We were pardoned but I know the law can bounce back on us if we are not careful. Although I claimed that I still love Tiwo, I did not mean it. I have never had sex with him as was revealed in court. That is why the medical examination failed to establish any anal penetration. I was coerced into the whole thing.”

Monjeza’s sudden conversion stinks of scandal — and bowing to family and societal pressure. Less than 10 days after being free he’s suddenly in love and set to marry to a woman? Why would he become such a willing accomplice to face 14 years hard labor with Chimbalanga and who the hell would even have put him up to it?

If anything it seems like his sudden love has come about because, as Monjeza said, “the law can bounce back on us if we are not careful.” He has either to marry a woman and claim heterosexuality or leave his native homeland for one where he would live as a exiled stranger and second-class immigrant. It’d be overstating it to say he’s in a worse position than before, where he was in jail; but at least he was standing up himself. Now he’s facing impossible odds.

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  • CertainPOV


  • Revemupman

    He’s trying to save his butt from the flames. I don’t blame em, its horrible down there.

  • Jerrold

    :-( Despair.

  • OrchidIslander

    @CertainPOV: Betrayed? What do you mean betrayed? This sad situation has nothing to do with you, or me or any of us residing in the comparatively safety of civilized countries. This is about living and surviving under a brutal, oppressive and homosexual-hating government. This guy has the national spotlight on him and must be afraid for his life. How could you not have a degree of understanding and empathy for people doing what they must, while living under such a fucked up environment.

  • wannabegay2

    you cant ask anyone to be a hero, to die for your cause.

  • REBELComx

    I understand the pressure and the fear mongering and the hate that this guy is being subjected to, but still…

    The word isn’t betrayed. It’s Coward.

  • Ponyboy


    It’s easy to judge when your fat isn’t being burned.

  • Bobert

    wow! :(

  • Jeffrey Marx

    The tone of this article is a perfect example of why it’s so hard for me to read Queerty. It’s easy to stand up for yourself when we live in America and Dan Choi is fasting and we can all sit inside our air conditioned condos and plan our next act of activism. I think it would be quite the different story if we were in his shoes in his country. You don’t get tortured for being gay in America. Cut the guy some slack. The fact that this story gained visibility is good for our international cause.

  • Samwise

    I don’t think there’s a single person here who didn’t spend at least some time in the closet, or betray another gay person while closeted – and we live mostly in the US and other developed, relatively tolerant countries. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same under such conditions.

    He was very brave for a very long time. But everybody has their limits. And few things will put the fear of God in you like seeing the inside of a Ugandan prison.

  • REBELComx

    @Ponyboy: And aint it just so easy to judge a nameless person you know nothing about? Honey, my fat was being burned a long time ago, and I nearly took my own life because of it. But I fought through it and am a better person for it. But you’re right. I don’t know all the details here. Maybe his whole family is being threatened if he doesn’t denounce his fellow gays. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Trust me when I say I do have some level of sympathy for the man. But unless others are under direct threat because of his actions, he’s a coward for not standing up for himself and for love.
    On the other hand, if he is doing it to save others, then he is making a sacrifice and that’s terribly brave. But even then, he’ll have to suffer under the coward moniker until the truth is revealed.

  • Wade MacMorrighan

    Who is endorsing this populist view that Gays are indoctrinating and coercing men, women and youths into having sex with us? WTF?! It was all the rage 9and fear!) in the documentary, “Missionaries of Hate”!

  • Justin Normand

    @REBELComx: Your kindly heart towards this couple and towards the rest of your community is indeed an asset to us all. Would that everyone would think the best of others – and take up their cause – as you do.

  • The Artist

    Why is this shocking?! This is done all the time here in the US. Ahem… Larry Craig. PEACELUVNBWILD!

  • gina

    It’s also not impossible this turn of events was an unspoken understanding which was part of the agreement to pardon them.

  • tjr101

    @The Artist:

    Very true, add Ted Haggard to the list.

    I didn’t understand a word that was said in the video but his face says it all. So sad. We can all look from a distance and judge but we don’t know the things he or his family are going through.
    I wish him all the best but fear he’ll never be happy.

  • Lanjier

    That is a really sad story, but really not unexpected. Saying he never loved him and that he was coerced. What a cruel, cruel country. Many believe in witches, killing children and all manner of horrifying superstition and barbarity.

    I fully understand lying and staying closeted in that God-forsaken place. When you read that story about witch doctors killing kids and having their bodies placed in the foundations for good luck, you can see what that couple was up against. I am sure his partner agreed to the story.

  • Jimmi

    Yet each man kills the thing he loves
    By each let this be heard,
    Some do it with a bitter look,
    Some with a flattering word,
    The coward does it with a kiss,
    The brave man with a sword!

    Some kill their love when they are young,
    And some when they are old;
    Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
    Some with the hands of Gold:
    The kindest use a knife, because
    The dead so soon grow cold.

  • None

    Unless any of you have been there I do not think you are in a position to judge. Last year I lived in a neighboring country with similar outlooks on the GLBT community as Malawi and it was truly terrifying when a group of men began to taunt me on my way home from work everyday. Fear of physical violence and knowing that under that country’s law I had no right to expect protection as an GLBT person left me unable to confront them. Yet, I knew that my stay there was only temporary so I got through it…

    This guy is fighting for his life and if this is what he has to do to survive for the next while, then so be it.

  • CondeNasty

    Very harsh…. We gays in the western world have “1st world problems” usuall, weather it be issues with a shitty boss or landlord or in the extreme an isolated gay bashing. This dude is seriously looking and being murdered and dragged through the streets Moussolini style. You need to know what goes on beyond your borders before you hurl coward at anyone. I am sure you think the gays in the middle east that once enjoyed the safe havens of capital cities cowards now for going underground and/or fleeing…

  • drums

    I’m slightly offended by Queerty’s choice of words in the headline–“why is Monjeza marrying a WOMAN”–when Tiwonge Chimbalanga is a transgendered woman. Queerty has consistently refused to acknowledge Chimbalanga as a female throughout coverage of this story, which is surprisingly careless (at best–wilfully ignorant at worst) for an LGBT blog.

    Also, anybody saying Monjeza is a coward is INSANE. It’s perfectly understandable for someone to not want to be tortured and killed. How could you possibly judge him for that?!

  • jason

    His fiancee looks more like a man than did the man he was previously with.

    As for what this says about black African culture? It says that it’s a horrible thing. This man would have been violently treated by fellow blacks determined to get him to go out with a woman. Think ex-gay movement with fists.

  • ron

    Negroes are terrible creatures. Obummer wants to turn the US into Malawi.

  • clairey

    Well in his defense the woman’s name is Dorothy

  • Boum Boum

    Tiwo is a woman!!!

    Transphobic article.

  • Hilarious

    @Lanjier: Nice thinly veiled concern layered with hate and ignorance.

    The only barbarian is you.

    Hate for hate is moronic and childish. Grow up and prove you’re different.

  • REBELComx

    @CondeNasty: I don’t know if you’ve looked around lately, but we have the same problems. How many gay teens take their own life every year so they don’t have to deal with it? How many gay or trans people have been murdered in the past few years as notable hate crimes? How many have lost their minds and souls in one of those awful ex-gay camps? You think i wouldn’t put it past these bible thumping asshats here in the US to gang up on and start lynching us?
    Like I said. If he’s doing this to protect someone else, than he’s being brave by making the sacrifice of his dignity and freedom. But the price of that for himself is that he will be labeled as a coward anyway. But that’s the point, he has to be. Like Batman at the end of Dark Knight, he’s being whatever the people he’s protecting need him to be.
    Going underground or fleeing the country is not cowardice because they are still trying to keep their identities as gays. This man is denying himself and publicly denouncing homosexuality, like a closeted Republican evangelical pastor. There’s a difference. Larry Craig? Ted Haggard? Until recently, State Sen. Roy Ashburn? Cowards.
    So if he is only doing it to save his own ass, then he’s a bloody coward. To deny yourself and forsake those like you just to save yourself is cowardice. To give up a fight for love to save yourself is cowardice. Love, despite the claims of certain religious texts, it is proud and it is boastful, and rightly so. Love is not meant to be a private matter. It must be displayed as an example to the harsh and cruel world, it must be known so that its goodness can be admired and shared. Erica Jong once wrote, “Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. . . . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.” It is the ultimate, the end all, be all of human existence. Forget wealth, forget power, forget success, forget magic or the gods men have created. What’s any of it, what is ANYTHING worth if you don’t have love and someone to share it all with? Love, and the lack thereof, is the underlying reason for EVERYTHING that every person on the planet thinks, says, or does. When it comes to the thoughts and actions of man, God is not love. Love is god.

  • jason


    No, negroes are not terrible creatures. Black people can be wonderful people. On an individual basis, there are some terrific black people. Black people deserve exactly the same rights as everyone else. This shouldn’t even be an issue of debate.

    My criticism is reserved for black culture that has hateful elements to it.

  • OlderJ

    @jason: What exactly is “black culture?” is it specific to the blacks in america, or africa? Does it take into consideration the changes of attitudes brought about by colonialism or is it only determined by the beliefs of native blacks before whites took over. Are the hip hop community, and the black LGBT community counted under this same culture with its “hateful elements”? Doesn’t “white culture” have hateful elements? Since when was culture derived solely from race? Why’re you pretending not to be a racist when that’s exactly what you are?

  • jeffree

    WAKE UP! Queerty needs to regain control of this blog. The racist comments including those with the N word, homophobic posts calling us pêrvêrts should NOT be allowed to pass through the spam filter.

    Jason, Jesse Helms & other trolls are ruining the blog.

  • David Ehrenstein

    I was wondering why the government pardoned the couple all of a sudden — after sentencing them to 14 year’s hard labor. Clearly this was the pay-off: “Marry a woman, renounce homsexuality, and we’ll set you free — we don’t care about the other one.”

    So the government got what it wanted — a “show marriage.”

    All it proves is that as bad as things often are here, it’s Fucking Paradise compared to the Third World — where Scott lively is regarded as an “authority.”

  • Hilarious

    @David Ehrenstein: Yes as long as you remain a cog in the wheel and don’t interfere it’s paradise…

  • gilber

    jeffry who the fck gives you the right to call people trolls? aren’t you one after all as well? you might find jason comments offensive but they contain AAAAALOT of truth regarding many things,if your stupid and ignorant political correctness doesn’t allow you to expose and uncover the truth when necessary, then you have a problem man.with respect to jesse i agree that no homophobic piece of shit should be allowed to post, simply because this is supposed to be a “meeting place” for queers, jason is gay and gay people whether you like it or not, do not have the same opinions and therefore this should be respected.

  • KWil

    I believe in pity, rather than contempt for this man, that the rest of the world can still see this story as a lightning rod for action, that he has not truly been defeated in his fight as long as we are awake to this idea. He needs to survive, didn’t we all at some point believe in hiding without so much as a camera in our faces to threaten us. In comparison, how many of us have ever been so trapped. To think he is a coward to me is to forget the cry for safety we all wish of our environments. Fighting for it is one thing, hoping is another, but surviving when this safety does not exist is entirely different. All is not lost, so why declare defeat?

  • Daniel

    @Boum Boum: @drums: Look, here’s the deal, I understand that Tiwonge Chimbalanga identifies as a woman, I agree that we have an obligation to accurately cover Chimbalanga’s gender identity and I take full responsibility for not doing so in my coverage of their case. However…

    Malawi arrested Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza for being in a GAY relationship (ie two men). Monjeza, Chimbalanga’s lover, refers to Tiwo as “he” and “him.” We may show trans-ignorance by defining Chimbalanga by sexual terms other than his own, but does that mean that any biologically born male who considers themselves female is automatically a transwoman? Does that automatically render Monjeza as “straight” just because he dated someone who identifies as female? Or is he bisexual (and if so, does the fact that no one writer has identified him as such make them all bi-phobic?)?

    I’m not quibbling nor poking fun, but I assume that other writers across the sexual spectrum share my confusion over these questions. I know that ignorance, fear of getting it wrong, or getting into confusing territory doesn’t absolve us of responsibility (if anything it signifies the greater need for address), but it does shed light on our hesitancy to take on Chimbalanga’s transwoman designation in this case.

  • Missanthrope

    “We may show trans-ignorance by defining Chimbalanga by sexual terms other than his own, but does that mean that any biologically born male who considers themselves female is automatically a transwoman?”

    Um, Tiwonge has made many statements to newspapers that she idenitifies as a woman and has lived for one for two years. This is really not as hard and complicated as you’re making it out to be. That’s kinda like asking as if just any guy who says he’s gay is really gay, it ridiculous because someone who says their gay is just accepted as fact.

    But because it’s about her gender, now people aren’t going to take her word for it and let her speak for itself. It’s worse than “trans-ignorant”, is cisgnder-centric and transphobic when you’re priviledging your own idea of her gender over her own right to self-idenitification.

    Have you’ve even had someone ever insist that you’re not gay, but straight no matter what you say? It’s kinda like that.

    Sometimes it’s just not all about gay men, get over it.

  • Daniel

    @Missanthrope: Thanks for responding, though I reject your “cisgnder-centric and transphobic” labels seeing as I didn’t privilege MY own idea of Chimbalanga’s gender, but rather the gender listed in most other LGBT blogs, by the Malawi court, and that of Chimbalanga’s lover. If I am “cisgnder-centric and transphobic,” then so is the person closest to Chimbalanga. But that’s a bit extreme I think and unfair seeing as I’ve made an honest attempt to regularly and accurately include trans-coverage here at Queerty otherwise.

    So how about taking a stab at the two other questions?

    “Does that automatically render Monjeza as “straight” just because he dated someone who identifies as female? Or is he bisexual (and if so, does the fact that no one writer has identified him as such make them all bi-phobic?)?”

    They’re important questions worth exploring. No less important than correctly identifying someone’s gender. I’d hate to think that your refusal to comment on them means you’re “bi- and hetero-phobic” as well as “trans-centric.” That would be an unfair overstatement, wouldn’t it?

  • Missanthrope


    Please don’t my comments that those were cis-centric or transphobic attitudes as accusitory or that I’m screaming at you irrationally. I probably wrote confrontationally but I just get tired of the double standard where Tiwonge isn’t taken at her own word but that any other identity that she would self-report would be taken seriously (ask yourself: would people be having these kind of discussions if she had said she was a gay man, but had a wife?)

    I’m just pointing out that the way these questions are framed (in the way that someone’s perception of another person gender is more important than the person’s own self perception) are busted.

    But yeah, when x person says y person is male when y person says that they are female, I would trust that y person because y person is self-reporting their gender.

    My mother could say that I’m male and straight as an arrow and it would make neither statements true, it doesn’t matter how close she is to me. Don’t forget that Monjeza was saying those “he” pronouns under duress in the trial and after the trial when his “conversion” happened.

    “Does that automatically render Monjeza as “straight” just because he dated someone who identifies as female? Or is he bisexual (and if so, does the fact that no one writer has identified him as such make them all bi-phobic?)?”

    Does it make him straight? I don’t know, why don’t ask him what he idenitifies as? The whole “does dating a trans person make a person gay/straight” question seems like a red herring to me. We know that a gay guy can date a woman and still be gay and that a straight guy can date a gay dude and still be straight (like if he’s experimenting). I tend to go by what people say they identify as, not what they do or happen to look like.

    And the fact the writer didn’t consider a bisexual possibility probably makes that person ignorant of bi people (like “monosexual centric” or something like that, not biphobic). It doesn’t make them a bad person, but it does say something about a general prejudice they might have.

    Nobody’s coming down on you like the Fourth Reich, I’m just saying that people may have a blindspot when framing these questions like this. I want a dialogue, don’t panic whenever someone uses a word with -phobic or -centric on the end to describe something.

    I was unecessarily confrontation in my comment, I apologize.

  • jason

    They are both, genetically, men. That’s where the story begins and where it ends. One of them might identify as a woman but this is irrelevant to how Malawi’s institutions see them. Belief in one’s identity is irrelevant. They are both men, and that’s that.

  • Michael

    Anybody stop to think that the guy, and his new bride, might be a bit touched in the head? Pretty odd behavior, regardless of mores.

  • 2Cute2BStr8

    It’s depressing, yes, but you can’t blame the poor fellow. Try to imagine his pain. Being forced to marry a woman and deny his love… What he’s saying may be crock, we know it, he knows it, the world knows it is a lie, but will choose to accept it, but when the world forgets it’s latest scandal, he’s the one who has to continue living with it. It’s a sad, sad thing… But it can’t be helped. Until the whole world is hate-free and perfect….. But then, I’ve given up on that as well.

Comments are closed.