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Namibia lets gay man into the country to be with his husband and son

Namibia lets gay man into the country to be with his husband and son

Man walking in front of child in bush landscape

A South African man has won a court petition to allow him to enter Namibia to be with his husband and son.

Namibia, which shares a border with South Africa, does not recognize same-sex marriage. Sexual relations between men is also outlawed in the Namibia.

But Johann Potgie­ter – a Namibian citizen – filed an urgent application against the government in a Namibian court in December alongside his South African husband Daniel Digashu. The pair wanted the right to live together in Namibia.

When Digashu’s temporary work permit expired in early January, he faced having to leave Namibia.

But the High Court of Namibia ruled the Digashu would not be stopped from entering the country on a visitor’s visa while the court reviewed their case.

The men’s petition also called for the court to recognize their marriage and that they are the adopted parents of an eight-year-old boy. The adoption process of the boy whose mother died in 2014 is happening in South Africa.

This government recognition of their relationship will help Digashu enter the country as often as he liked without needing to apply for a permit every time.

Digashu has set up a car hire company in Namibia and the couple want to establish themselves a family there according to The Namibian.

Demeaning discrimination

Commentators have argued that outcome of the court hearing could act as a test case for marriage equality in the country.

But the road to setting up their lives in Namibia has not been so easy for Digashu and Potgieter.

The couple has faced ‘demeaning, humiliating and degrading’ discrimination from officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, according to Mambo Online.

One senior Immigration official allegedly told them: ‘I have never met people like you in my life. I don’t know anyone of your kind. Who is the husband and who is the wife in the relationship?’

Gay Star News has reached out to the Ministry for comment on the alleged discrimination.