Former ambassador Jon Qwelane dies

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Jon Qwelane.
Jon Qwelane.
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  • Former ambassador to Uganda Jon Qwelane has died.
  • His family asked for privacy.
  • Qwelane was appointed South Africa's ambassador to Uganda in 2010.



Former ambassador, journalist and activist Jon Qwelane has died.

Qwelane's attorney, Andrew Boerner, confirmed his death to News24 on Thursday morning. 

Boerner said the family asked for privacy during this time.  

Qwelane was appointed South Africa's ambassador to Uganda in 2010.  

In 2008, he wrote an unpopular opinion about same-sex marriage in the now defunct Sunday Sun, titled: "Call me names, but gay is not okay".

He also lauded former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's "unflinching and unapologetic stance" on homosexuality.

EXPLAINER | Jon Qwelane hate speech case: How it landed up in ConCourt

"There could be a few things I could take issue with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, but his unflinching and unapologetic stance over homosexuals is definitely not among those," the column read.

However, last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned a High Court ruling in 2017 that found Qwelane guilty of hate speech and dismissed an SA Human Rights Commission complaint against him.

The complaint was lodged in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Pepuda), which the SCA found to be unconstitutional.

As a result, the SCA directed Parliament to rewrite the "vague" and "overbroad" law, which was meant to prohibit discrimination. 

- Compiled by Jeanette Chabalala

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