Ben Winks writes that the Constitutional Court's finding that Jon Qwelane's words constituted hate speech achieves two important things. First, it declares that he was wrong and secondly it sends a strong message to all bigots that hate is not okay.
In 2008 – 13 years ago – veteran journalist and anti-apartheid activist Jon Qwelane wrote a column in the Sunday Sun entitled "Call me names, but gay is NOT okay". He argued that homosexuality is "wrong", "against the natural order of things", and akin to bestiality. He expressed his disgust at seeing two men kissing or holding hands in public, and called for the Constitution to be amended to delegalise same-sex marriage.
The article elicited widespread public outrage and hurt, and an unprecedented number of complaints to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which decided to take Qwelane to the Equality Court for hate speech.