South Africa: Zulu king denies anti-gay statement

Jan 24, 2012, 10:41 AM

Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – South Africa’s government human rights agency said Tuesday it is investigating whether the Zulu king made comments that could increase anti-homosexual sentiment in a country where gays face hatred and attacks despite liberal laws ensuring their rights.

The Times, a Johannesburg newspaper, reported that King Goodwill Zwelithini called homosexuals “rotten” during a speech. Human Rights Commission spokesman Vincent Moaga said the newspaper stands by the story, but the king’s office said the king was mistranslated.

In a statement, the royal household said the king was expressing concern about moral decay that he believes leads men to rape other men.

“These are very serious allegations leveled against the king,” Moaga said. “There are millions of people in South Africa who look up to King Zwelithini. He is revered and respected. It’s important that an accurate reflection of what he said is put out there.”

Moaga’s agency said it wanted a transcript of the king’s speech, made during a weekend ceremony marking a Zulu battle victory over British colonial troops. The king spoke in a remote rural area in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, the stronghold for Zulus, the largest ethnic group in this country of 50 million.

President Jacob Zuma, who is Zulu, appeared with the king at Sunday’s anniversary ceremony. Zuma’s frequent public appearances alongside the king bolster his appeal to tradition-minded South Africans.

The king has no governing powers in South Africa’s democracy, but is an influential figure who frequently speaks out on social and cultural matters.

South Africa’s constitution charges the Human Rights Commission with promoting and monitoring respect for human rights. It often has gone to court to fulfill its responsibilities.

Last year, the commission won a 100,000 rand (about $14,000) judgment against South Africa’s ambassador to Uganda, who was found guilty of hate speech for an anti-gay column he wrote in a South African paper before his appointment. Uganda is criticized for threatening the rights of gays.

Same-sex marriage is legal in South Africa and the country has laws against discrimination because of sexual orientation. Still, cultural attitudes toward gays in South Africa resemble those elsewhere on a conservative continent. Lesbians in particular have faced brutal assaults in South Africa.

Gays are “constantly under attack,” Moaga said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
24 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
25 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
25 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
South Africa: Zulu king denies anti-gay statement