Singer Loyiso Bala was forced to apologise last night after he had found himself in the middle of yet another social media firestorm.
He was being called out by social media followers for what they deem as microaggression and casual homophobia following a seemingly innocent tweet he sent out on Sunday.
Bala said he did not mean to hurt anyone. “On Sunday, I tweeted a post that offended the LGBTI community. I sincerely apologise as it was not my intention to hurt anyone, but to express my love for my brother, he tweeted.”
Loyiso had wished his openly-gay younger brother Phelo Bala a happy birthday on Twitter, with a message that set the LGBTI+ community and activists reeling.
The caption for the picture that features the brothers sandwiching Loyiso’s wife Jennifer Bala reads: “Blessed to have spent some quality time with my brother Phelo Bala the past few weeks.
“As I said to him, ‘I’m in no position to judge you but to love you and to always point you to Christ’.
“Your relationship with him will define your life’s purpose.”
One of the people to slam Loyiso for his tweet has been former child star and openly gay actor Lumko Johnson. “We’re so used to family members like Loyiso. So used to being ‘tolerated’… so used to the ‘It’s not my place to judge’,” Johnson said.
“We’re so used to being the ones who have to adjust our behaviour at family gatherings… We’re so used to accepting your bigotry as ‘religion’, ‘tradition’, ‘culture’. They have to accept it, they have to allow us to be who we are. We’re so used to love us to accept that ‘you could’ve just said ‘happy birthday’ only?
“Your perfect Christian image isn’t contaminated by your public proclamation of this thing you choose not to judge,” said Johnson.
Addressing the backlash, Loyiso shared on Twitter Phelo’s response to his message: “Thank you so much for your love and leadership bhuti [brother], but above all, for letting me be. You continue to inspire me,” Phelo wrote in the comment section on Instagram.
Contacted by Sowetan yesterday, 28-year-old Phelo, who is currently dating TV personality Moshe Ndiki, declined to comment. “I’m unable to comment right now. I have so much going on. I really cannot comment on that,” he said.
Last year, Loyiso caused another social media firestorm after he called for local gay-themed film Inxeba to be banned. He said the film that depicted a sexual relationship between young men undergoing the Xhosa initiation ritual “totally ridicules and disrespects the wishes and traditions of the Xhosa culture.”