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Mon Dec 22 11:52:08 SAST 2014

Admit it, dear King, you are a hardcore homophobe

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 24 January, 2012 00:14

The Times Editorial: Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini's household yesterday denied he made anti-gay statements at the weekend, saying the comments ascribed to him by The Times were a "reckless interpretation".

On Sunday, the king 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."

Yesterday, the royal household said he had been expressing his concern that "nowadays you even have men who rape other men. The king said this was a clear sign of moral decay".

But we stand by our story and our translation of his comments.

If King Goodwill's comments were merely an expression of concern about the moral decay in our society, why did President Jacob Zuma - present at the ceremony - feel the need to soften the monarch's words, by saying: "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"?

Quite frankly, it does not behove King Goodwill to make such utterances, particularly in the public arena.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006, when the Civil Union Act was passed. Furthermore, our constitution outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

There are many South Africans who view King Goodwill as their monarch, and who are immensely proud of their Zulu heritage, who might view this as encouragement to openly support an anti-gay stance.

It is altogether too easy for politicians, traditional leaders and prominent figures in society to claim that they have been "misinterpreted".

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