By Melanie Nathan, May 12, 2014.
South African world champion athlete and Olympic silver medallist, Caster Semenya, is marrying her fellow athlete, Violet Raseboya.
Following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, Semenya had been subjected to gender testing. She was then withdrawn from international competition until 6 July 2010 when the IAAF cleared her to return to competition.
What is so amazing about marriage equality for same-sex South African couples, is the fact, that slowly but surely, families are engaging in embracing African tradition and culture for same-sex couples.
According to the Daily Sun website, Semenya (23) has sent her parents to Raseboya’s family in Polokwane to negotiate “Lobola” – a traditional African custom for many African tribes, whereby the family of the (female) fiancée is paid for her hand in marriage. What is interesting with same-sex couples is that it is becoming traditional for one of the families to step into the gender binary of the bride (female) family receiving the Labola. In the case of same sex partners, this role is not always easy to determine. Interestingly, Semenya has assumed a traditional male role if this insider report is accurate.
An insider revealed to the Daily Sun that both families were happy to negotiate Lobola, with Semenya’s family paying R25 000:
Sunday Sun can reveal that Caster has sent her elders to Violet’s family in Polokwane.
Sources revealed that Caster’s relatives went to visit Violet’s family to negotiate lobola – as both athletes wanted to settle down. It is understood they went to Violet’s family two weeks ago. “Caster’s dad, Ntate Jacob Semenya, was accompanied by other family members to negotiate lobola. Caster had made her intentions clear that she wanted to take Violet as her other half. “Both families were happy to negotiate lobola and Caster’s family paid R25 000 to have Violet as their makoti,” said an insider.
The People’s Paper understands preparations for the wedding are underway.
A friend of the couple said Caster and Violet are inseparable. “They really love each other and this is a bold step for them. They have a bright future together and I believe once they have settled down, they will achieve more in their careers.”
The IAAF’s handling of the gender testing case spurred a huge worldwide reaction and many criticized the organization for how it handled the matter. Prominent South African civic leaders, commentators, politicians, and activists characterized the controversy as racist, as well as an affront to Semenya’s privacy and human rights.