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Yes I am! writing by South African gay men PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 June 2010 04:12

Compiled by: Robin Malan and Ashraf Johaardien

In a world of sexual categorisation, undoubtedly the gay and lesbian categories are the most controversial. The book Yes I am, compiled by Robin Malan and Ashraf Johaardien, takes the reader on a journey of what it is like to be gay in contemporary South African society. Yes I am! tackles issues such as coming-out, finding-out and encounters faced by South African gay men. Interestingly the contributors to the book are South African gay men of different backgrounds and ages, all telling their stories in different ways. Questions such as, 'How can a man sleep with another man?'; 'How can a man be born a "man" and later change to being gay?' are tackled. Yes I am! is different from other books about gays in the sense that the book encourages a change of attitude towards gay men through the stories told. The book features writing by, among others, Drummond Marais, an award winning actor, singer and theatre director who in his short story 'Coming out to my wife', tells the story of the many gay men still living a lie with their wives, all in the name of keeping their parents happy. Other writers also featured in the compilation are Jonny Steinberg ('My first HIV Test') and Pieter Dirk Uys('Fun and Fear in 1966'). The Foreword to Yes I am! is by Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He writes: '[The book] speaks out loudly and clearly in a continent where silence, quite literally, still entails death. May its life flourish, and may it foster life elsewhere.'

It is a must read for not only gay people, but all people. My view of the book is that it is informative and well compiled; it made me think twice before judging gay men about their sexuality.