Lulu Xingwana is a bigot - DA

Annelie Lotriet
03 March 2010

Annelie Lotriet says photos of black lesbian couples were not immoral or offensive

Bigoted Minister should resign

Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana's behaviour has revealed her to be a homophobe and her attitude as bigoted and regressive. She is unwilling to recognise or accept that every South African citizen is equal before our constitution and that our new democracy has no place for the kind of prejudice she publicly espouses. She should be ashamed and embarrassed, as should the ANC and the government. The Democratic Alliance believes we cannot have a bigot overseeing any government portfolio, but particularly Arts and Culture. We believe she should tender her resignation.

The Minister walked out of an exhibition featuring photographs of black lesbian couples, stating that what she had seen was "...immoral, offensive and going against nation building". She said: "Our mandate is to promote social cohesion and nation-building. I left the exhibition because it expressed the very opposite of this".

I have seen a range of the photos on display and I can state categorically that I think they are quite beautiful.

It is worth, at this point, identifying some of the principles at stake here.

First: constitutionalism. The new South Africa is a constitutional democracy. At the heart of our Constitution is a Bill of Rights. And, contained in that Bill are the following provisions:

  • Equality: It states, "Everyone is equal before the law", that "equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms" and that neither the state, nor any person, may "unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone" on one or more grounds including, among other things, their gender, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
  • Dignity: It states, "Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected".
  • Freedom: It states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion" and "the right to freedom of expression"

In her capacity and as a representative of the state, the Minister has a duty to uphold, protect and promote those values; indeed, she has taken an oath before the Chief Justice to that effect. But she has failed fundamentally to do so. And, as such, her position as representative of the South African people is no longer tenable.

Second: nationalism. The state has no place interfering in the lives and morals of private citizens. But the ANC, led by a wounded Jacob Zuma, is on a drive to socially re-engineer South Africa and its citizens according to its own image, to redefine our ‘moral code'. This exercise is borne of a nationalist impulse to impose uniformity and social and moral conservatism. It is anti-constitutional and should be opposed.

But even in practice, the idea is profoundly disturbing - when one sees the kinds of values and attitudes the ANC's representatives in government hold. The very people who publicly promote prejudice are the same people calling for us to redefine our moral code. It is a deeply alarming state of affairs.

Remember too that Jacob Zuma - the man at the forefront of this drive - is deeply compromised on this particular issue. It was Zuma who stood before a crowd in 2006 and stated: "Same sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God. When I was growing up, ‘ungqingili' [homosexuals in isiZulu] could not stand in front of me, I would knock him out"; a statement for which he would later apologise, saying that he "did not intend to have this interpreted as a condemnation of gays and lesbians".

Most recently, Zuma appointed Jon Qwelane, an outspoken homophobe as Ambassador to Uganda. It would appear that, below the surface bigotry and prejudice run deep in the ANC. It is disgraceful.

If this government is serious about creating a genuine democracy built on a foundation of human rights, it needs to act against the kind of prejudice the Minister espouses. One would hope the Minister has enough perspective to sanction herself and resign, should her pride prevent her from doing so, President Jacob Zuma needs to take action.

Statement issued Annelie Lotriet, MP, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of arts and culture, March 3 2010

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If you come across comments that are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate; contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs, please report them and they will be removed.
 responses to this article

Lulu Xingwana
I for one, respect Ms Xingwana's stand against pornography. The DA needs to rethink their stand and their support in this as this country is drowning in the mire of sexual abuse and even art of this kind is tantamount to arousal to this sort of . .more

by Voter on March 04 2010, 08:55
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Annelie Lotriet, DA MP
Ms Lotriet, you are applying double standards. You criticise Jacob Zuma for his
private life, and in this I do agree with you, but then you expect Ms Xingwana to
approve of disgusting art. It seems that you will grab any little thing to . .more

by Realistic on March 04 2010, 09:01
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You just don't get it do you?

The main problem with JZ's behaviour is that he says one thing and does another. With him being the president of the country, I, and most thinking South Africans, find that deeply troubling.

by Alice in Wonderland on March 04 2010, 09:35
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A Stand

Lulu Xingwana
The minister has the courage of her convictions and I applaud her. The DA is wrong to criticise her just because she is not politically correct; but is true to her principles.
I wonder what she would have said had she been . .more

by john kalala on March 04 2010, 11:43
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Lulu Xingwana
In matters such as these, Politics, Religion and Prefernce must be left out in totallity. The Law clearly states, that each human being has the rights we are all entitled too iand we should respect the law. I myself do not approve of same sex . .more

by Naz on March 04 2010, 15:09
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Bigoted minister
Quite frankly I couldn't care a flying donkey's toss about anyone's claptrap about god odr any other mythical creature. If you want to live under god's law, go commit suicide and go to his kingdom. This earth would be better off for your . .more

by Jeff on March 04 2010, 21:08
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