Last week, local soapie ‘7de Laan’ aired a kiss between two male actors. Although the show has been on air for 17 years, this is the first time the show screened a same-sex kiss following in the footsteps of other soapies such as ‘Generations’ and ‘Isidingo’. While not a major storyline just yet, the show featured Simon Tuit, who plays Logan, kissing his husband Divan, played by newcomer Arnu De Villiers.
Naturally, the moment was praised by many around the country. Same-sex relationships are often explored on many of our favourite international TV shows, however, South Africans have always been a bit more conservative. Despite this, the show was praised by fans all around the country and despite a backlash of homophobic comments from viewers, the scene sparked important and necessary conversations that we as a nation should have had a long time ago.
Although this is his first acting role, model Arnu De Villiers knew that this would be an incredible moment for South African television and was quick to jump at the chance to play Divan. “It was quite awkward seeing my face pop up everywhere, even coming across a few memes as one does,” Arnu said shortly after the scene aired. “Conversation erupted and opinions flowed with thousands of comments and shares – I was sad to see all the negative comments, but expected nothing less. I was even more happy to see the thousands of posts embracing it and calling for equality and most importantly, acceptance.”
The actor added that the show is supposed to have moments that are applicable to all of those who watch it and that the Afrikaans community specifically need to step up and embrace the LBGTI community. “7de Laan always ensures that each character and storyline is relatable to someone and this scene was exactly that. We see it every day, but it gets bashed for being on TV. Everyone knows someone – lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – They’re people, who love exactly like you do,” he says. “How cool will it be if everyone can kiss and post a photo of their love. Be it straight, gay, bi, interracial, whatever! Let’s rather stand together and show the world that this is not only happening in soaps, but in real life – Just LOVE.”
The model encourages everyone to be proud of who they are and who they love and praises the show for finally acknowledging that same-sex relationships exist. The moment, although small, was an important conversation starter and Arnu believes that more moments like these are important to change the perception same-sex relationships still have in our community and for acceptance to grow. “Let us create a bigger change, because to someone it means something – let’s share thousands of photos and not let it stop with this one,” he says.
Watch the scene here:
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