One of South Africa’s longest-running soaps has featured its first ever lesbian kiss.
7de Laan, which has screened more than 4,000 episodes since it debuted in 2000, showed Amanda – who is currently imprisoned – kiss Jasmine after opening up about losing her newborn baby.
The programme made headlines last year when viewers saw a gay kiss for the first time, before breaking another barrier by introducing transgender character Genevieve du Pre.
In its latest step towards equality, 7de Laan – which is broadcast mainly in Afrikaans, with English subtitles – showed Jasmine visiting Amanda in prison.
Amanda told her that her baby had died, but that she had named the child Jasmine – after “the most beautiful woman and name under the sun.”
The women then embrace and kiss, leading into the end credits.
When the next episode aired a day later, they were still kissing.
They only break off when a guard makes a noise, at which point Amanda tells her: “We’d better not take any chances.”
The pair then argues about Justin, Amanda’s past fiancé, and discuss what happened after she woke up from her coma.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are legal in South Africa, but many in the country still face discrimination.
In response to the kiss, Western Cape pastor Oscar Bougardt – who has already been found guilty once of using anti-LGBT+ hate speech, wrote on Facebook: “This is how sick the SABC and the producers have become.
“I have been warning people about these type of soapies, trying to brainwash entire families with in believing that homosexuality is OK.”
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Earlier this month, two girls in Durban were expelled from school for kissing each other.
The teenagers were thrown out of the Inanda Seminary, a private Christian boarding school for girls, after seminary officials said they were caught kissing for 20 minutes.
In June, South Africa’s Equality Court found that religion was no excuse for homophobia, ruling against a pastor who tried to justify anti-gay hate speech with his Christian beliefs.
South African LGBT+ people are struggling to come to terms with multiple horrific attacks on the community, including the torture, rape, murder and burning of married lesbian couple Joey and Anisha van Niekerk.
Last month, a South African lesbian said she was raped at the age of 15 by her father in order to ‘make her straight.’
The woman, known only as Mubizana, also accused her uncle and his friend of raping her on the same day.
In February, a South African church was accused of beating gay men half to death and forcing them to pay for ‘damages’ after their sexualities were revealed.
And in the same month, a same-sex couple was allegedly abused and told to stay naked by police in a horrific viral video.
In April 2017, Nthabiseng Mokanyane’s close childhood friend Nonkie Smous was raped and murdered because she was a lesbian, leading 25-year-old Mokanyane to fight for LGBT equality.