Written by Katlego Kganyago. EXIT

“Ke December Boss!” A phrase we all love to hear during the festive season. It is peak season at work/business for some, contrasted with the pure bliss to be on holiday for most of us (party-every-day-mode activated). I feel a sense of relief because it has been a beautifully hectic year for me. It is the time to reflect, unwind and be grateful for all the blessings, even if they are in disguise. First and foremost, I have a loving family I can go back to whenever the weight of the world feels heavy on me. Having a home is a God-given resource, and that is a birth right I do not take for granted.

I remember lines of a song I wrote a few years back on the importance of family. It is a bit cheesy but I love the humour (LOL):

I want to change things for my family

They’ve really shown me love when I was low

When I was lost, they’ll find a way to let me know

That I am a star and meant to be a show

Although it took some time for me to grow

They never stopped believing that I will blow

I’ve hit rock-bottom never meant to have a glow

They’ve given me a bow and arrow to strike sorrow

I’ll leave it just like that for now and share the link of the track when we have recorded it with my band. I would like to address a pressing issue. I realise that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and non-binary+ family member is not easy for some of us during the festive season. For many queer people, this period is triggering and can have detrimental effects on one’s mental health. If you find yourself in such a space, I recommend that you should protect your inner-peace at all costs and take measures to protect your mental/emotional well-being. 

I have a best friend who was evicted at home for being gay. There was an era where I hosted my bestie in downtown Jozi until I couldn’t afford to pay rent anymore because gigs were scarce. The realisation that I had to go home crushed me, but the fact that my friend had no place to call home broke my soul further. Luckily bestie found a gig and managed to pay rent for some time, but they still had no one to run home to. It is the small blessings that count, they say. I love you friend. 

I also have an ex-colleague who becomes anxious during December holidays as they are non-binary, and most of their family members make them feel unwanted/ unloved. I accommodate my friends during their hours of need and form our own blended family. I challenge you to also do the same with whatever resources you have to share, even if it is a phone call or random acts of kindness.

Sometimes our friends, cousins/relatives, colleagues and mere strangers become our chosen family and we have to embrace that. “There is no such thing as a perfect family but it is the love that stands out.” Our lovely cover star, Yaya Mavundla embraces her birth family and chosen family members in the ground-breaking, award-winning reality show she co-starred in called Becoming (flaws and all). Yaya mentions in previous interviews: “I love being a motherly figure to those around me because I never had that privilege growing up.” She is consciously and actively creating cosmic legacies for queer people, plus the entire globe. Yaya’s leadership and courage shows us that we ought to open up our hearts and homes for those who are less privileged than us, and offer family support for those LGBTQIA+ siblings who are in need. 

Forming your own family is never easy; whether it is blended, adoptive, ‘biological’ or ‘chosen’ – not forgetting our house mothers and fathers. It takes tons of love, guts, resources, consistency and loads of dedication to maintain a family and keep the fire burning. I’d like to send a huge shout out to my folks, siblings, cousins and friends for all the love they give and show to their gay son forever.

I pray that the Lord blesses your families during this festive season and beyond. I wish you and your family/ friends loads of success, good health, peace and happiness.

Happy holidays. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a stunning New Year! 

“Live each day as if it were your last.” – Beyoncé 

With massive love,

Katlego Kganyago


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