'Making people feel good is my second nature'

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

Dr Love is an intriguing gay man with a restrained flippancy in his step. However, when there's an attractive male in the picture, the leashed dogs threaten to break loose. But he's adamant that all he loves is the thrill of the chase.

And he is sporting a perm these days.

"Yeah, your colleague wrote that I am ageing fast, that I have lost my fashion touch and all things nasty. How can you say such things about someone?"

With me still trying to pass the buck, he is already way beyond this subject and instead asking about my well-being while gently touching my hand the way I've observed him doing to his loyal patients .

"Are you well, my baby?"

Now when Love asks you that question twice you are either looking haggard or he has declared himself open for an interview.

When I ask what gives, he showers me with compliments. Making people feel good is second nature to him, he says. He's a healer and has both Western and African healing degrees under his silver belt.

"I was an early bloomer so I was always the messenger of romance, an assignment I relished," he begins, as he fiddles with the rings on his masculine fingers. "But I think even back then, people gave me the look that confirmed I was a special person."

But never once was he made to feel like a sexual object.

"At the time when I should have noticed and made a distinction about my sexual orientation, I was so immersed in my studies so I didn't even know I was gay until I was in my fifth year at varsity - I must have been about 20. But by the time I finished my degree I was 22 with the societal subscription to heed. I had to be the model son and get married."

In Gqwede's own words, he married a drop dead gorgeous Nomxolisi Mji, to "validate or cover up a situation . to present to the world something glamorous so as to stop it looking deeper into the person I was." Uyayibonakengoku - do you see now? - he asks in the nasal tone that serves as signature to South African gays.

Gqwede says not everyone - straight or otherwise - is cut out for marriage, especially not homosexuals. He had to duck a couple of knives when he opposed the same-sex bill, which was passed in November last year. He asked gay people to stop making a mockery of the marriage institution.

"Gays are well known to be wanting and needy. I'm worried about them getting married for the sake of having someone to soothe their fears only to be exploited.

"They must be jolly but check their sexual activity because most are dying like flies." About the rapid evolution that should count as an advantage for his counterparts, he says: "Even though the world has changed, Africa has not."