The popular South African television drama 7de Laan has shown a kiss between two male characters for the first time in its 17 year history.
The episode featured a tender moment between character Logan (played by Simon Tuit) and his husband Divan (Arnu de Villiers).
After a disagreement, the couple embraces in a crowded restaurant, much to the surprise of other characters in the scene.
The kiss—broadcast on March 2—has divided audiences in South Africa, with some calling for the program to be taken off the air.
Actor Simon Tuit took to Facebook to speak about the scene and thank fans who spoke up and embraced LGBT+ representation on South African television.
“It's a very heartwarming thing to see so many people coming together and actively speaking out against homophobia, judgement and (frankly) plain cruelty and hate towards other human beings,” wrote Tuit.
“One small scene ended up causing such a stir and brought people from all over the country together with such camaraderie and it proved that even in "conservative" South Africa - love and acceptance won the day.
“This letter isn't directed at those who cried for 7de Laan to be banned or who said they'll never watch the show again or how disgusted they were by seeing two men kissing.
“As much as your hateful response saddens me and as much as I hope that my words will somehow strike a chord in your heart - I realise the odds of me changing your point of view are very slim.
“But do please remember the words of Nelson Mandela: ‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion (and by extension being any form of "queer"). People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’
Tuit sent a message of inclusion to those who were offended by this kiss.
“When you're ready to heave that burden from your shoulders and to accept yourself and love yourself for who you are - remember that there is a community (of decent human beings, gay and straight and other) - and we're here for you.”