The popular soap opera 7de Laan surprised viewers when it aired South Africa’s first lesbian kiss on national television.
Characters Amanda (Carina Nel) and Monique – whose real name is revealed to be Jasmine – (Leiden Colbet) shared the historic kiss on the show which is in the language Afrikaans.
The kiss came after the imprisoned Amanda told Monique about losing her newborn baby. The episode ended on the kiss, with the following episode opening showing the couple still kissing.
Amanda said she named her baby Jasmine after ‘the most beautiful woman and name under the sun’.
7de Laan has aired more than 4,000 episodes since it launched in 2000. It also made history when it aired the first gay kiss and last year included a trans character, Genevieve du Pre.
Viewers were divided about the lesbian kiss, taking to the show’s Facebook page to air their opinions.
‘Oh no. 7de Laan is now just for lesbians and gays. Not for me anymore, thanks,’ one Facebook user wrote.
‘I am proudly homophobic as it’s against my religious beliefs. 7de Laan was always a lovely program for people that paid their TV license. You can have your sick program.’
South Africa’s lesbian problem
Despite being the first country in the world to enshrine the rights and protections of LGBTI in its constitution, LGBTI people in South Africa faces extreme violence.
Lesbians especially face violence including corrective rape, torture and in some cases, murder.
Last year, a lesbian couple – Joey and Anisha van Niekerk – were raped and murdered in South Africa. Their attackers kidnapped them and allegedly burned them with petrol and soaked their bodies in acid.
Writing for Gay Star News, trans activist Jua Van Zyl said South Africa had a long way to go at the grassroots on LGBTI issues.
‘Unfortunately, our constitution remains far more progressive than the hearts and minds of our people,’ she wrote last year.