KZN couple allegedly chased out of community by induna for being lesbians

2016-11-17 15:36

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Durban – A KwaZulu-Natal lesbian couple is living in fear after a local induna chased them out of the community, accusing them of spreading the "spirit of homosexuality in the community".

The couple, Nonkululeko and Nokuthula Mthembu, both 30, said they fled from their KwaNgcolosi home, west of Durban, after Induna Mlethwa Ndlela found out that they were married and not siblings as he had thought.

The couple moved into a house in the area three months ago but trouble began when Ndlela found out that the pair was a couple.

"I am not sure who told him that we were married but that's when all the problems began," Nonkululeko told News24 on Thursday.

She said on November 9 the induna and his family, clad in pyjamas and nightdresses, attacked them while they were sleeping.

"They came here and accused us of selling drugs, said that we were possessed with satanism and that we were going to bring the spirit of homosexuality in the community."

Threats

The self-employed woman, who runs a tuckshop in the area, claimed that Ndlela insisted that they were living by his mercy.

"He said this was because gay couples were not allowed in the area. His wife told us she was disgusted that we had the guts to go around telling the world that we had been married for three years. She said we were disrespectful."

Nonkululeko said they were now living in fear.

"He threatened to send men to dismantle our house because all along he thought we were sisters. We have been living in lodges and hotels because we are afraid to go back there."

Nonkululeko said she feared that men would be sent to rape as a form of "corrective rape".

"They told us they will send men to marry us. They also said that Nokuthula made me a lesbian but that is not true, I am the one who told her that I loved her."

Constitutional rights

She said they had tried to get help from the police through a protection order but Ndlela allegedly refused to sign.

"We just want to live in peace like everyone else in the community. We want Ndlela to respect us like we respect him, we have done nothing wrong," she said.

When News24 asked Ndlela to comment on the matter he said he could not do so at the moment.

KwaZulu-Natal chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders Inkosi Phathizwe Chiliza said what was happening to the couple went against the Constitution.

"Nothing that goes against the Constitution will be tolerated in communities."

Chiliza said everyone had the right to love whoever they wanted to love.

"Even if it goes against your beliefs, you have no right to infringe upon other people's rights. You have no right to judge others because that is the way they were created."

Chiliza said traditional leaders were there to bring peace in communities.

"They need to report the matter to the local inkosi and the matter should be heard at the local traditional court. The induna must bring proof of his allegations but he has no right to chase people out of the community."

Land issue

KwaNgcolosi chief Inkosi Nkosinathi Bhengu said the issue was not about sexuality.

"The Induna informed me that someone from KwaNgcolosi who lived in that house gave them the house without informing him. He said those people were not from the KwaNgcolosi clan."

Bhengu said a decision was taken two years ago that people not belonging to the clan would no longer be accepted into the community.

"The land that is left has been reserved for the next generation."

Bhengu said the clan did not discriminate against homosexuals.

"Why would we judge someone based on their sexuality? The issue here is not about sexuality, it is about land."

Durban Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Centre's Sbongiseni Khumalo said even if the dispute was about land, culture was still a barrier for homosexuals in South Africa both in rural and urban areas.

"There is a general lack of information in rural areas and that is why people's rights are violated. We need to educate traditional leaders on sexuality because some of them do not accept that we are all different," said Khumalo.

Read more on:    durban  |  gay rights

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