Out of Jail, Gay Malawi Couple Breaks Up

One dates a woman, says he wants 'to live a normal life'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2010 7:34 AM CDT
Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza are led from court in Blantyre, Malawi, Thursday May 20, 2010 after a judge sentenced the couple to 14 years in prison under Malawi's anti-gay legislation.   (AP Photo/Alex Ntonya)
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(Newser) – Despite the eventual pardon, Malawi’s anti-gay laws “worked” on one half of the gay couple who was recently jailed: Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga separated, and Monjeza is now seeing a woman. “I have had enough,” he says. “I was forced into the whole drama and I regret the whole episode. I want to live a normal life, not a life where I would be watched by everyone, booed and teased.”

The family of Monjeza, 26, pressured him to leave Chimbalanga, 20. “You cannot force love, and nobody forced him when we did our symbolic wedding in December,” Chimbalanga tells the Guardian. “I will remain a gay,” he says, adding that Monjeza is dating a woman to “hurt” him. Despite their break-up, one human rights activist says “Malawi will never be the same on the gay issue. The couple have opened a can of worms.”

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