Perhaps only in South Africa can a leader deliver a homophobic speech wearing a leopard fur outfit and have people take him seriously.
Which is exactly what happened Jan. 21, during the celebrations of the 133rd anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana near Dundee.
According to The Witness newspaper, Goodwill Zwelithini, the ruling king of the Zulu tribe, said the following about homosexuality:
“This is something new within the Zulu nation and it needs to be condemned. No matter who you are, if you are doing it, you are rotten.”
The Royal Household later issued a statement saying it was “shocked and dismayed” by the “reckless translation” [from Zulu], The Mercury reported.
His majesty was apparently only remarking about today’s rampant sexual abuse:
"During the good olden days, our forefathers dedicated their lives for the good of the nation. Men would go for months in the battles to fight the enemies without their wives but did not harass each other sexually and there were no cases of rape of women,” he reportedly said. “Nowadays, you even have men who rape other men. This is a clear sign of moral decay. We condemned those involved – no matter who you are.”
Homosexuality, of course, is not a new phenomenon in the Zulu culture, otherwise there probably wouldn’t even be a Zulu word for gay people: inkonkoni.
And it’s certainly not the first time a Zulu leader has gone on a homophobic rampage.
In 2006 Jacob Zuma, another Zulu, who later became South Africa’s president, said that same-sex marriages were “a disgrace to the nation and to God.”
Zuma, who currently has three wives, also said that when he was growing up, unqingili (homosexuals) could not stand in front of him, as he would have beaten them up.
One only wonders what would happen to Zuma if he showed up in his wedding outfit in a straight bar in Texas.