Seven years ago POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse) filled a complained with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against Jon Qwelane for hate speech. The complaint was endorsed by FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women), OUT Well Being and Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA). Qwelane published an article called ‘Call me names but gay is not okay’. The article was published in the Sunday Sun in 2008. On Monday 29 August until 9 September 2016 the matter for SAHRC v Qwelane will be proceeding in the Johannesburg High Court. The matter is going to be heard as the Constitutional and Equality matter. POWA is going to be on the witness stand based on the complaint it lodged. POWA found the article to be offensive to black lesbian women who are harassed, assaulted, raped and killed daily in our townships. Qwelane’s utterances were irresponsible and callous to all the black lesbian who have been killed, raped and maimed.
People like Qwelane who are in positions of power should not use their positions of power and influence to promote hate and unlawfulness when presented with platforms where they can unite, educate South African citizens about the Constitution, and the importance of tolerance and respect for human rights and the rule of law. In this article Qwelane bluntly agrees with Mugabe’s utterances that ‘homosexuality is sub- animal behaviour” and compared it to that of pigs and dogs. To illustrate his position he added a cartoon in his article which shows a man marrying a goat. This kind of public stance against the LGBTI community dehumanises and ‘others’ them in a country with a violent history and continues to use violence to resolve conflict, and we cannot condone such hate speech from Qwelane. Black lesbians have been lost due to being called ‘setabane’ ‘inkonkoni’ names that ‘others’ them. Our foreign brothers and sisters have been killed for being called ‘makwerekwere’.
Not only is Qwelane a homophobe, he is a misogynist, who wants to keep his privileged position of a patriarch who sees women only as objects created on earth to serve and please men. Therefore any women who dares and defies his privileged position are unwomanly.
Homophobia must stop! Othering other human beings must stop! Women abuse must stop!
For more information contact:
Nhlanhla Mokwena, Executive Director POWA at 011 642 4345/6 0R 082 785 2116
Palesa Mpapa, Legal and Advocacy Manager at 011 642 4345/6 0R 062 215 68 26