COACH MASUKU: Gentlemen, men are no longer sure of their role in the home, in society. We need to evolve. Sbusiso, a client of mine, has decided after several consultations to come and share his story with us because this is a safe space for all men, no matter your background or challenges. Please show Sbu the same love, support, and understanding you have always shown each other. He needs us. (starts clapping)

SBUSISO: G-g-good morning, g-gents. I-I…(takes a deep breath)

(Masuku and Makgatho go up to welcome Sbusiso and whisper words of encouragement while the men applaud his bravery.)

SBUSISO: (whispers something back to Masuku and Makgatho) Thanks, coach, Makgatho. W-when I tried to tell my parents that I’m g-gay, my father disowned me and my mother had a nervous breakdown. She kept saying, “W-why are you d-doing this to us?” My father was so angry he threw my things onto the street and told me that I’m a d-d-disgrace to our family name. That was three months ago. I’ve since moved back home, thanks to my mother, on the c-c-condition that I n-never bring up my sexuality again. Now my mother keeps inviting various young women for d-dinner and pretends that nothing ever happened. Coach Masuku has been helping me, but my parents are stubborn and I just don’t know if they will ever accept me for who I am.

COACH MASUKU: Right, gents, you’ve heard the situation Sbusiso is grappling with, but before you engage, I’d like you to all come forward and take a candle here in front. When you done, come stand over here with me. (indicates an open space near the entrance to the kitchen)

(Standing in a circle, Masuku lights his candle and uses his lit candle to light Sbusiso’s. Sbusiso in turn uses his lit candle to light the next person’s candle, and so on and so on, until everyone’s candle is lit in the same way.)

COACH MASUKU: Gentlemen, let this candle not only serve as a reminder to all of us that we are responsible for one another, but also that we have the opportunity to light the way ahead for those who will come after us.

MEN: Makube njalo!

COACH MASUKU: Right, questions or comments?

HENDRIK: What does acceptance by your parents mean to you?

SBUSISO: It means everything…It means b-b-belonging, the freedom to be who I want to be, knowing that I have the love and s-support of those who matter most to me. (hand held to his chest)

THABO: What about children? Don’t you want to have children?

SBUSISO: Yes, I do, and there are gay couples all over the world who have adopted children or had them through surrogacy, but not h-having children doesn’t make me l-l-less of a man. (gesturing with a hand) B-besides, I would be having children because I wanted to, not for my parents.

(Thabo raises his eyebrows and hands in surrender.)

COACH MASUKU: What do you think your father is most afraid of?

SBUSISO: The only thing I can think of is his image and what he believes is shame on our family name. He’s a selfish man. I mean that night…(eyes widen) I’d n-n-never seen him so angry. Sometimes I wonder if I was not better off k-keeping quiet, or d-d-dead.

COACH MASUKU: Here’s the thing, Sbu: you can never truly excel at anything in life if you cannot go out into the world as your authentic self. And secondly, perhaps what we need to work on is getting your father to realise that your choice of partner will never change the fact that you will always be his son.

Tell us: What do you think of the play so far?