If there’s one word that will typify Pride Month 2021 in South Africa (during this October), it is certainly “Inclusion”. In a country where “transformation” has been a key buzzword for a long time, we put it forward this month (and all months that follow!) that Inclusion should be just as high of a priority.
Thankfully, the South African entertainment industry has proven to be one of the most inclusive spaces over the years. Although there’s still some way to go, South Africa can be proud of an industry which celebrates and hails its LGBTQI+ talent on a regular basis. For our first-ever Inclusion Issue, during Pride Month 2021, we spoke to one of South Africa’s most prominent queer stars to find out what inclusion means to her: Nomsa Buthelezi-Shezi.
Fans of Our Perfect Wedding will already be extremely familiar with Nomsa’s talents on screen but those of us in the industry will also be well aware of the work she’s done in educating the nation off-screen. Nomsa’s romance, with her wife Zandile, has been widely followed and reported on and the presenter has used the spotlight as an opportunity to teach South Africans that everybody deserves the right to love – no matter who they love.
In partnership with Cremora, it made perfect sense to speak to Nomsa all about the importance of inclusion in 2021.
Why Inclusion Brings Nomsa Joy
Hello Nomsa, welcome to Moziak we hope you are well today! It’s SA’s pride month and you are taking part in a very special initiative for this month. Tell us a little more about the latest campaign with NESTLÉ CREMORA, which reimagines the classic “it’s on top”?
First, I was over the moon when I was told I will be one of the people that are going to be doing this legendary advertisement. The NESTLÉ CREMORA Ad is Iconic, I grew up watching the Ad and now I was going to be remaking it…what a great time to be ALIVE!
In your own words, what does “The Joy of Inclusion” mean to you and why is the inclusion of the LGBTQI+ community in advertising so important?
The Joy of inclusion to me means to be accepted the way I am, to love who I want to love without being judged… to also be respected.
The Joy of inclusion to me means to be accepted the way I am, to love who I want to love without being judged…to also be respected. The inclusion of the queer community in mainstream advertising is very important because advertising must reflect the society we live in today. Did you know that gay/lesbian characters are only portrayed in 1% of ads globally? Queer people live with us and in us, despite this the community still comes across a lot of challenges and stigma. For me to be included in the remaking of this classic ads, shows that we are seen. I applaud NESTLÉ CREMORA for being deliberate about casting marginalised communities and show that #everyonesincluded.
You have been very open about your own love story. What kinds of responses have you received from the LGBTQI+ community?
The response I got from the LGBTQI+ Community was amazing, I had people texting me, calling me and even stopping me while I’m shopping to tell me that they appreciate and respect my courage to come out to the world and speak proudly about my Love. They were inspired to also speak freely about their Love…to me that means a lot.
What would you like to see SA achieve during pride month 2021?
What I want South Africa to achieve this pride month in 2021 is more and more queer people bringing their family members or their friends to PRIDE. I believe there are so many queer people who are accepted by their families, my wish is to see them come and experience PRIDE, so they get information about sexuality and see that even if they have a queer child/sibling they are human and that they don’t have a disease
You are also one of the most loved TV presenters in SA, do you believe your platform on OPW helps inspire other queer women?
My platform on Our Perfect Wedding does inspire other women cause the industry is very tough, one can be afraid to be open about their sexuality; fearing discrimination and harassment at work because of their sexuality. But the more they see me on television, it inspires them to live their truth. Also, it shows that there are producers who see talent and not sexuality.
What have you learned about making a marriage work?
Minding my business and staying away from her phone. LOL!! Respect, communication, and prayer.
What would you like the next generation to know about love and sexuality from a young age?
I want the next generation to be free; they must be free to love, free to be who they are. They must learn to talk about what they feel. I’d also like to see less homophobic families and communities. The next generation must be leaders without being bullied.
Where can the government help South Africa grow to become a more inclusive society?
Government must protect queer people. Can there be laws where we can be free to go to a police station to report homophobic slurs, homophobic cyber bullying and be free to report any form of abuse. We want a safer country where Queer Lives Matter!!! Our society just needs more education about the LGBTQI+ community. The government must start this in schools and then spread it our communities. By doing so we will be raising an informed generation.