Zulu king says gay people are ‘rotten’

King Goodwill Zwelithini falsely claims there were ‘traditionally’ no same-sex relationships in his kingdom

Zulu king says gay people are ‘rotten’
23 January 2012

The Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has branded people in gay relationships ‘rotten’.

He was speaking yesterday (22 January) in the presence of South African president Jacob Zuma at Nquthu, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, during the 133rd commemoration of the Battle of Isandlwana, which the Zulu regiments won.

Zwelithini is widely reported as having said: ‘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.’

President Jacob Zuma, who shared the stage with Zwelithini and has previously been criticized for making homophobic remarks, did not directly respond to the remarks.

But he did say: ‘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.’

Lance Weyer, Mr Gay South Africa 2011, said the king’s remarks were ‘unacceptable’.

Weyer explained: ‘He must have missed the history books where many historical experts believe that Shaka Zulu is to have encouraged intercrural intercourse among his troops to “create intimacy and loyalty".

‘What the King said is in clear conflict with our bill of rights and section nine of the constitution specifically, regardless of his interpretation of history. We have to note the devastating effect deeply rooted homophobia by leaders is having on communities. How can someone who is being paid a salary by the South African government (ie taxpayers) have such a blatantly unconstitutional view?

‘Violent homophobia is real, and as much as I respect your right to practice and live your Zulu culture, I think it’s about time that we started being as passionate about the dignity and wellbeing of all our citizens.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Win a trip to Costa Rica (or Thailand, Peru or Greece) with Detours Travel

Trip to paradise up for grabs with tour operator's exclusive giveaway
Jeremy Renner: Gay rumors are the price of being 'a giant movie star'

Jeremy Renner: Gay rumors are the price of being 'a giant movie star'

'When you google yourself and the first thing that comes up is "Jeremy Renner gay," it’s like, "Oh, now you’ve arrived"'
No thumbnail available

Italy banks on gay marriage

The second biggest bank in Italy will give gay employees the same marital rights as straight employees, despite gay marriage being illegal in Italy
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Uganda national football manager arrested for gay sex

Graphic photos were published in notorious homophobic tabloid Red Pepper of the soccer boss allegedly having sex with a young player
No thumbnail available

Stephen Colbert chides Ellen Page for not coming out on his show - demands do-over

Host of The Colbert Report says such an announcement would have given his Comedy Central show a ratings boost
No thumbnail available

Slovenia gay marriage bill passes first hurdle

Government says treating same-sex unions differently is unconstitutional
No thumbnail available

Suicide of gay self-help book author leaves friends and family stunned

Publication of Bob Bergeron's book has been cancelled
No thumbnail available

Watch: Straight Arabic celebs make powerful message for gay rights

Groundbreaking video is first time Arabic-speaking public figures have backed IDAHOT
Spice Girls put the zigazig-ah in Olympics closing ceremony

Spice Girls put the zigazig-ah in Olympics closing ceremony

New rehearsal pictures are unveiled of the fab five preparing for London 2012 celebration