Tragic story of homophobic violence

For Thabiso Radebe – a proudly gay man – it wasn’t until he was at university that he fully realised how backward society is when it comes to accepting other people’s sexual orientation. In an environment where you’d expect more tolerance, Radebe and his friends found quite the opposite.

“Students did not acknowledge gays and lesbians. They would swear at homosexuals and lesbians, saying we were cursed, that there was something wrong with us,” he says.

Rather than let the attacks get the better of him, the then drama student (and now high school drama teacher) decided he would show the students the error of their ways.

“Since I studied drama, I know how the arts can bring about social change. So I wrote a play about it,” he said.

High Heels… with Balls is Radebe’s one-hander about tolerance, acceptance and human rights. It was first staged at the Durban University of Technology Art Gallery, then at the KZNSA Art Gallery. This week it is being staged at the Catalina Theatre.

“I received a lot of positive feedback after the first two stagings, from both the gay and straight communities. Asiphe’s [the main character in the play] stories are a mixture of my own experiences and research I’ve done on homophobia.”

Radebe plays Asiphe, a young man who shares his tragic story of homophobic violence, the lies that surround homosexuality, and his hopes as a young gay South African.

“I’ve used a mix of narration, poetry and dance to engage the audience. The narration is a mix of Zulu and English, and I love using dance because some things are better said in movement.”

• High Heels… with Balls, October 25 to November 2. R60 at 031 305 6889 or visit

By Latoya Newman
Source – iol