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SAHRC concerned about the homophobic utterances allegedly made by King Goodwill Zwelithini

Monday, 23 January 2012

The SA Human Rights Commission is concerned about the homophobic utterances allegedly made by King Goodwill Zwelithini. The Commission will be writing to the King to ascertain whether he did in fact make such statements and if he did, to immediately retract them.

King Zwelithini is reported to have told guests at the 133rd commemoration of the Battle of Isandlwana that “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. 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.”

In the context of the growing levels of hate crimes against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersexed (LGBTI), the Commission finds such utterances to be inflammatory.

If it is indeed correct that His Majesty, the Zulu King made the utterances as reported, they constitute hate speech, are dehumanizing and also a violation of the constitutional right of LGBTI people to equality and freedom.

Section 09 of the Constitution provides that everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. It further provides that equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms, including sexual orientation.
 
The King should use his powerful position not to dehumanize and discriminate certain people on the basis of their sexual orientation but to uphold the Constitution and promote tolerance and diversity.

The Commission is also concerned that the King allegedly made his utterances in the presence of President Jacob Zuma. The President is entrusted with the defence of SA’s constitution and cannot remain silent in the face of such attacks.  The Commission will also be raising this matter with the President.

The Commission will proceed to obtain transcripts of the King’s speech.

ENDS

Enquiries: Vincent Moaga on 073 562 9866
 
For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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