Jon Qwelane

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Christina Engela's picture

Tick Tock

As some of you may have heard by now, Media24 - the former employer of South Africa's new Ambassador (excuse, me - "High Commissioner") to Uganda - is challenging the constitutionality of section 10 of Act 4 of 2000.




Why am I still talking about this? Yes, still - because some of you who have been paying attention will already know this - but the sad thing is, many of you now reading this will not even know what it is all about. And it is for your benefit that this is the topic of discussion for today as well. I am hoping this will get through to you - and that the message with get out there, that we as a community are facing a serious threat to our civil rights.

Why? Because Act no 4 of 2000 is a vital piece of legislation. It fills the gap in sec 16.2 c of the SA Constitution. Yes, that nice gap that would allow people to incite hatred or express hate speech against others on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender (which is not mentioned in that specific section) - were it not for this Act, of course, which provides protection for everyone.

Because, along with their former employee - a "journalist" who has been anything but objective, has expressed hate speech and incited harm and promoted hatred against women, gay people, and white people - they face charges in the Equality Court. Obviously, the easiest way to fight such charges - which they know it is highly likely they will be found guilty on - is to fight dirty by trying to change the laws describing the charges to begin with. If the law is changed so it doesn't describe their crime, how can there be charges? Simple.

Christina Engela's picture

Portent Pending


 

I am not qualified to say what God wants - or what God says - and I don't believe anybody else is either. In fact, all I know is what I feel and what I want and what I need - that is what it is to be human and mortal - and fallible. Some people would do well to realize this and put down their sharpened books, get off their pedestals and stop waving their fingers down at us, as though they are somehow special and have a hot line to God.

There is a disturbing trend developing in parts of the modern world, to connect good morals (called "morality") and Christianity, as if people who are not fundamentalist Christians are somehow automatically exempted from being people of good moral character. Feminists, even when Christian, are described as "backsliding" or "misled" simply because they believe, somewhat controversially - that women are equal to their male counterparts - and thus disagree with the Patriarchy, which has appointed itself, somewhat arrogantly and presumptuously, as a middle-man between humanity and the divine.

I still cannot quite understand what makes some people think that their faith or even their fanatical belief in a religion or deity makes some people "better" or more "worthy" than others, qualifies them to sit in judgment of others, and somehow elevates their own personal view of the world - or "morality" above that of the rest of us mere mortals. The fact that this unenlightened sectarian point of view seems to be steadily creeping into South Africa's young democratic government however, while undeniable - is frightening.
Christina Engela's picture

Once Upon A Hate-Crime

Come kiddies, gather round - aunty Tina is going to tell you all a story... somebody was kind enough to send it to me, and I want to share it with you because it made me think. Pay attention in class, because I will be throwing lollipops at anyone I see sleeping - and there will be questions afterwards.

Once upon a time, a mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning :

"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" 

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."
 
The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"
 
The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap . . .. alone.. . ..
 
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.
 
The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever - with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well... She died. So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.
 
And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.
 
So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember --- When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.
Christina Engela's picture

Shout Louder

In 2008 a journalist working for the Sunday Sun wrote an article which insulted gay people and women, encouraged conservatives to remove the rights of gay people from the SA Constitution, and also thumbed his nose at the Human Rights Commission by saying that he would refuse to apologize. More than two years later, it seems Jon Qwelane has been proved right.

Not only has it taken two years for this man to be charged for his offensive publications, but now that the Human Rights Commission has finally managed to get the process to the point where it can go to court, Mr Qwelane suddenly cannot be traced to be served with notice that he should appear in court - effectively holding up the whole process.

Where, I wonder, is Mr Qwelane? Perhaps the tracers diligently searching for him have been asking in the wrong places. Have they asked the Government?
Christina Engela's picture

Bipolar Opposites

With all the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela, who became arguably the most important, if not the best President of South Africa - it occurred to me to look at the similarities and differences between this icon and our current Prez.
  • Supporters of Nelson Mandela plunged South Africa into a 20 year border war in order to bring an end to the monstrosity called Apartheid - which at its core was a noble fight for liberty.
  • Supporters of Jacob Zuma threatened to kill for him - as per ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema - in order to prevent him from going on trial to face corruption charges.
  • Nelson Mandela inspired his supporters and even changed the minds of his former enemies and united the country as never before.
  • Jacob Zuma inspires his supporters in the ANC and has done little more than be controversial and divisive and to embarrass South Africans before the world.
  • Nelson Mandela said: "Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement", "There is no such thing as part freedom" and "Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another" - and his rule was marked by it.
  • Jacob Zuma said: "When I was growing up an ungqingili [a gay] would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out", "same-sex marriages are a disgrace to the nation and to God" and encouraged faith-based bodies to engage the government on such existing same sex marriage legislation - and his rule so far is marked by homophobic slurs and tacit support for bigotry and homophobia.
  • Nelson Mandela's trademark was colorful ethnic shirts and his smile.
  • Jacob Zuma's trademark is his song "um'shini'wam" (Bring me my machine-gun).
  • Nelson Mandela went to jail for 27 years, was released in 1990, went on to win an election and made a positive difference as President of South Africa, and is today regarded as a much respected world icon of freedom, equality, forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • Jacob Zuma has been cleared of a rape charge, become infamous for his "HIV shower" gaffe, avoided going to trial for corruption charges, won an election - and as president, done little more than make excuses for his personal indiscretions as "a man".
  • Under Nelson Mandela, South Africans had a president they could be proud of.
  • Under Jacob Zuma, South Africans dread the next day's headlines to see what else our President has said, done or given approval to.
'Nuff said.
Christina Engela's picture

Enough Is Enough

Dear Mr Ssempe lays it all on the line for SA - send Jon to Uganda - or else face protests and a boycott of SA businesses in Uganda.

"We take this letter to remind you that South Africa has vast strategic economic interests in Uganda in the areas of communications, energy, banking, food and mineral sectors. These include household names such as MTN, Eskom, Stanbic, Nandos, and many others. The de-selection of Mr. Jon Qwelane and sending to Uganda someone who pleases the homosexual groups in South Africa threatens the good social standing of these companies in light of our nations values. You need to carefully weigh what is South Africa’s strategic interest in our nation and region. Is it business or sodomy?" "Cancelling Mr. Jon Qwelane appointment and sending someone else due to the pressure of the homosexuals will trigger a widespread civil society protest which stands to affect the South African businesses in Uganda."

A big, burning question I would like answered is: Why is SA even trading with those fascists in the first place - and why is SA still - after two years - refusing to speak out against Uganda's laws which abuse human rights?
Christina Engela's picture

Hiding In Plain Sight

 



I sincerely hope Mr Shapiro doesn't mind my including his brilliant cartoon of the issue with my article, it is remarkably apt and fitting to the situation, it puts in one picture all the words I could write a hundred articles about this subject! Kudos to him!

Last week, the storm around the appointment of the homophobic News24 columnist Jon Qwelane broke mainstream news. Immediately, there was an outcry by human rights organizations, specifically from the Pink Community, even resulting in some advocacy bodies in other countries lodging objections. Why did they object?

Well, because Mr Qwelane has made a habit of targeting groups of people in his articles, derogating them and using his articles as a forum to incite distrust and even hatred against them. Although he is known for his intolerance of women equality, and racist sentiments against White people, his particular favorite appears to be gay people.

Thus far, the only official response by the ANC has been a rather shamefully ignorant statement made by its spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, who is reported to have asked a reporter for the Mail & Guardian:

"Do you have any scientific evidence that [Qwelane] is a homophobe?"
Christina Engela's picture

On The Spot

 



This morning I lost my virginity... my TV interview virginity, that is.

Those who know me, know me as a fairly quiet person, so the last place they would expect to see me is on a live TV broadcast on ETV morning news, talking about international matters. Come to think of it, that's the last place I would expect to see me. Never the less, I found myself there this morning, a bundle of nerves, like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

As press and media liaison for the group, I had written and distributed the press release sent out this week, and was invited to answer a few questions, which I did. Bearing in mind that it is a bit harder to articulate words as well live, unprepared and in one take than it is to write articles such as I do every day, I did the best I could - considering it was my first time in front of a live TV camera. I had participated in a live radio interview before, but this was a bit different as all the instructions were given to me via a headset and the sounds in the background were a little confusing.

Also, I was tense and had a dry mouth - and as people who know me are aware, I have issues with my voice. And there I was, live on ETV morning news, dressed to the nines and afraid I was going to sound like Bea Arthur in front of the whole nation. Well, at least that part of it that was awake at 7am and watching ETV news. So many people were going see a woman on screen, and give the box a smack thinking it was getting the wrong audio channel. I drew comfort from my rather warped sense of humor and a wry grin spread across my face as we went live. Donovan, the video journalist/cameraman/receptionist and resident psychologist, had done his best to make me relax and feel comfortable. He smiled at me and gave me an "OK" sign behind the camera.
Christina Engela's picture

Immoral Support

 


Like others in South Africa over the past few years, I have long been asking the South African government for an explanation for not signing the UN Statement to Decriminalize Homosexuality in 2008 and what they meant when they said they did so on the grounds of "having principles". It seems they have been answering my question in increments.

I got an inkling of what this might mean when our new president, who is on record for making homophobic statements in the media, went on stage in the hall of the Rhema cult and placed gay rights on the bargaining table for right wing religious fundamentalists less than a month before the General Election in 2009.
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