Homophobia,  South Africa

Mr Qwelane goes to Kampala

South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution is hailed as a model document for a progressive liberal democracy. The country’s liberation leaders took equality seriously. It was, for example, the first constitution in the world to include sexual orientation, recognising the rights of its lesbian and gay citizens. Full marriage equality was introduced after a successful constitutional challenge.

There was a huge brouhaha recently when a senior journalist, Jon Qwelane, published a series of bigoted and ignorant rants about homosexuality. Indeed, in his diatribe, he attacked the constitution itself.

Qwelane was rapped over the knuckles by the press complaints ombudsman, and the case even went before the South Africal Human Rights Commission.

Did this do his career any harm? Hell no! This weeks brings the news that Jon Qwelane has been appointed as South African Ambassador to Uganda.

For Qwelane it could not be a better fit. Uganda is currently debating the introduction of the death penalty for homosexuality.

While some South Africans are now protesting the appointment, many are not surprised. I have to say that, though I don’t class myself as a starry-eyed dreamer, I was surprised. I did not think that things could get so openly, so blatantly, fucked up so soon into Jakob Zuma’s presidency.

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