Zuma rebukes Zulu king for gay slur

2012-01-23 14:45

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma reportedly hit back at King Goodwill Zwelithini who was quoted as saying that homosexuals are "rotten".

"Traditionally, there were no people who engaged in same sex relationships. There was nothing like that and if you do it, you must know that you are rotten," he said at a ceremony on Sunday marking the 133rd anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the Zulu army defeated British imperial forces.

"I don't care how you feel about it. If you do it, you must know that it is wrong and you are rotten. Same sex is not acceptable."

But Zuma said at the ceremony that the country must end discrimination against gays and lesbians.

"Today, we are faced with different challenges... challenges of reconciliation and of building a nation that does not discriminate against other people because of their colour or sexual orientation," Zuma said, according to The Times.

The SA Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also responded to Zwelithini's statement on Monday.

GLAAD's Cobus Fourie said in a statement to News24: "We find it extremely distressing that a high profile person makes such vexing and degrading comments about an increasingly vulnerable community.

"We have enough instances of hate crimes in this country and we do not need to add insult to injury."

Zuma himself sparked a firestorm six years ago, before he was president, when he was quoted as saying that same-sex marriages were "a disgrace to the nation and to God" and that he would have beaten gays when growing up.

He later apologised.

South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to extend equal rights to gays, and is the only nation in Africa to allow same-sex marriage.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  king goodwill zwelithini  |  gay rights
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