Features

EDITORIAL: BE PREPARED TO FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS

Thu, 3 May 2012

We are under attack, in what is possibly the most serious threat to the LGBT community in our democracy’s history. South Africa's traditional leaders are making a concerted effort to reverse the right to equality guaranteed to gays and lesbians under the Constitution.

This alarming assault on our rights - primarily from the archaic Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) - comes on two fronts.

The first is in the form of the Traditional Courts Bill. This proposed law aims to entrench the power of traditional leaders, such as chiefs, in rural areas. It will allow them to conduct trials and hand down judgments according to 'traditional culture and custom'.

And, as Contralesa has made clear, traditional culture does not in their view include the rights of lesbians and gays, or the equal rights of women.

The one saving grace of this outrageous legislation is that the bill is clearly in conflict with our Constitution and would, if passed and made law, likely be struck down by the Constitutional Court.

But not so fast... The wily chiefs have thought of this and have another plan of attack. If the bill is unconstitutional, then why not simply change the Constitution? And that's just what they're planning to do.

The House of Traditional Leaders, which consists largely of Contralesa members, have sent a proposal to the Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament recommending that section 9 (3) of the Constitution be amended.

They propose that the term "sexual orientation" be removed from section 9 (3), which currently prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It's this protection that has led to changes in our law to ensure that we are treated equally, including the legalisation of marriage.

"If section 9 (3) of the Constitution is amended we could head down the path to seeing laws passed to deprive of us of our rights..."

If section 9 (3) of the Constitution is amended as the traditional leaders would like, we could head down the path to seeing laws passed to deprive of us of our rights. We could theoretically lose employment protection and marriage and adoption rights. We could be refused permission to hold gay events and even laws criminalising gay sex could be enacted.

Considering that our community continues to be the target of discrimination, including the murder and rape of lesbian women even with the current Constitutional protection, imagine our lot without this defence.

In the past, the Constitutional Review Committee has rejected every single proposal submitted to it for amendments to the Constitution, but frighteningly this time it did not.

Instead it has forwarded the proposal to the political parties in Parliament for their comment; the first step towards making this amendment a horrific reality.

You may be interested - although probably not surprised - to learn that the Constitutional Review Committee is chaired by none other than Nkosi Sango Patekile Holomisa - the President of Contralesa.

Constitutional expert Pierre De Vos is horrified by these moves.

"The decision of the Committee not to reject this dehumanising and insulting proposal out of hand (as it has done with all other proposals over the past 17 years) suggests that Holomisa believes that it is completely reasonable to ask political parties to consider whether they support unfair discrimination against fellow South Africans and whether they believe that it is necessary to endorse the denial of the human dignity of fellow South Africans," he writes on his blog.

He adds: "The proposals must still be debated, but the very fact that it will be debated is dehumanising to those of us who must now wonder whether people like Holomisa believe that we are subhuman and therefore deserve to be unfairly discriminated against, vilified and (followed to its logical extreme) eventually raped and killed."

So there we have it. We have a fight on our hands. The question is, ladies and gentlemen, how will you play your part to ensure that we are not once again downgraded to second-class citizens? The time for apathy and ignorance is over.

• An online petition has been launched telling the chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee that we will not stand to have our rights trampled on. Sign it here.

• Read more about the proposed amendment to the Constitution from Pierre De Vos.

• Read more about the Traditional Courts Bill from Lance Weyer and Melanie Judge.

by Luiz DeBarros

    

Comments


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Comment:

Adulai 5/14/2012 3:44:04 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Please attend the protest marches this Saturday - Dbn and Jhb scheduled for Sat 19 May. Jhb - from Wits parking lost. Dbn - SABC offices - see FB.
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Comment:
Johan Geyer 5/11/2012 1:56:31 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
My money and tax is good enough for the ANC to ride the gravy train, but yet i can not love whom i want to, well maybe ,i we all gay people should then not pay our taxes
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Comment:
Adulai 5/11/2012 1:56:31 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Please attend the protest marches this Saturday - Dbn and Jhb scheduled for Sat 19 May. Jhb - from Wits parking lost. Dbn - SABC offices - see FB.
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Comment:
bruce 5/10/2012 5:48:25 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Why is the Gay Pride board so Quite on this?
They got a data base why are they not helping with the march next Saturday?
Monique asked Fulvio for help and was rerfused help...
I wonder why?
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Comment:
Adulai 5/10/2012 5:48:25 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Because there is no money to be made, because it will contrast with what they are not doing and such reasons.
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Comment:
Johan 5/10/2012 5:48:25 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Because it is not one big sex party, it is a march for something that really matter. They will never get involved in something that is not purely for fun or sex...
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Comment:
Adam W 5/10/2012 9:28:04 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
And what is Mandela doing?
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Comment:
Niko 5/10/2012 8:35:03 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
I cannot believe this! South Africa is just moving backwards! Its like Apartheid in reverse! We cannot just sit back and watch them take away our rights! There is going to be a huge revolt against this!
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Comment:
Bricks 5/9/2012 2:53:49 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Well done that the moffies are finally standing together on this. I WILL BE AT THE PETITION ON JOZIE WITH ALL MY FRIENDS!!
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R 5/8/2012 11:11:32 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
You know what they say indi, "no one oppresses better than the oppressed" besides this is the power of autonomy. This is what makes this so great u get people's raw opinon... no biting back of words. The real savage behind the posied exterior of the human being we see everyday. Deep down we all need the ugly truth which is why we come back n give out opinions n read what everyone says (especailly about our own opinions). We r the info generation*smiley* n this is what we do*wink* yes indi I too hope we can learn to be nice to each other... that will come in time
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Indi 5/8/2012 11:11:32 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Nice is a stretch, I'd settle for civil.
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Comment:
Nozuko 5/8/2012 8:16:41 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Government should not allow such thing, we deserve better
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Comment:
indi 5/8/2012 8:12:34 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I believe you should always have the grace to defend your rights or views without resorting to derogatory statements about your opposition. Its alarming that some of the statements on here are so offensive. They indicate more in common with the mindset we should be defending against.
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Comment:
R 5/8/2012 3:07:24 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I was under the impression the only way to change a sinlge chapter or verse in the constitution is for a party to have c 2/3 majority in Parliament and as far as I know, no one has 2/3 majority how does the Constitutional
Review Committee come into play? I need an explaination
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Comment:
Henry 5/8/2012 3:07:24 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
When it comes to the Bill of Rights, a 75% majority vote is needed in the National Assembly to make amendments to it. I'm no expert, but I believe the Review Committee merely makes suggestions for amendments, but the National Assembly must vote on the matter.
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Adulai 5/8/2012 3:07:24 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
With the support of parties such as the ACDP and FF+ - as well as if the DA allows a conscience vote, they will reach 75%
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Comment:
Ken Bridgens 5/8/2012 8:56:17 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
In a Country that has a bad record of exclusion ( thankfully past?), we need to find ways of being more inclusive. This is not one of the ways.
Spread the honey amongst all peoples, lets not be prescriptive about who gets what. Less laws, more honey!!
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Pleb 5/7/2012 6:10:31 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
What a revolting bunch !
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Comment:
Faygon 5/7/2012 4:12:20 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
This is just ridiculous. Because not only does it attack gays and lesbians but it also places women as the lessor sex. Do we really want to go back to those times. I think not. They need to find something else to keep them busy, and leave us alone. We not harming anyone. The people that want to enforces these changes don't know that their kid could potentially haveing same sex encounters lol. They need to sit down and fall back.
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deejay 5/7/2012 3:59:20 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Shouldn't they be fighting over who has more cattle or the most wives instead of interfering with our lives?
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Comment:
John 5/7/2012 9:44:37 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
This is horrific and very worrying! does that mean I have to divorce my partner to avoid persecution?
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Comment:
Marixella 5/7/2012 8:49:06 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
I am horrified!. ...and they still have the audacity to say we live in a Democracy!?

Who sanctioned the choice of chairperson [Holomisa] for this crucial task that is on the way to changing our Constitution?? Can you even say "bias and intimidation" ??

What is sad is that about 5 years ago, I would brag to my international friends that I was so proud to be living in a country where one of the most liberal constitutions exist.

I never, ever thought that would change in my lifetime.
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Comment:
Gray 5/6/2012 9:24:26 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
And this from the people who believe in the tokoloshi, witchcraft and barbaric circumcision.
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Pleb 5/6/2012 9:24:26 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Yip they are the scum of the earth much like most of the south african population
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Comment:
Let's see 5/6/2012 7:34:04 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Let's see how this plays out ... We will be keeping a close eye, trust you me.

'
ANC distances itself from gay comments - On Sunday, the Office of ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said it had noted, with great concern, Holomisa's remarks about gay rights.

Motshekga said he would meet with Holomisa to discuss the remarks.

The ANC caucus distances itself from these views and would like it noted that at no stage has it considered debating this issue before Parliament, Motshekga said.
-SAPA


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Comment:
Clary 5/6/2012 5:20:44 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
We all must stand together with this. Like i said somewhere els they spend money on things like these, changing town,citys and road names wasting everyones time and money on crap instead of focusing on more importan things in life. i mean what does removing gay rights have to do with making south africa a better place ... FOCUS ON MORE IMPORTANT THINGS IN SA THERE ARE PEOPLE WITH WORSE PROBLEMS, WITHOUT HOMES, CRIME IN Sout Africa..... BLOODY FOOLS... WE ALL WIL FIGHT AGENTS THIS ACT
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Comment:
Jared Orlin 5/6/2012 3:55:50 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I'm sickened and horrified by this. What's worse is that I'm not even surprised. But let's look at how this community can and does come together. We WILL fight this. Tooth and nail.
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Comment:
manalone 5/6/2012 3:46:10 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I agree with the previous statements of one person in this thread. It is their county, they can do what they want. South Africa will never know equality.
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Comment:
lovelife 5/6/2012 1:10:13 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Actualy, I could see this coming.

Many reasons have been offered, to explain traditionists homophobic views; some ranging from sexist fundamentalist thinking , rigid views of what consitutes a "man" or a"woman" and even aesthetic views of how it kust doesn't "look right" when a man kisses another affectionately etc.

None,however, have been consistent and even some, contradicting the other.
Perhaps,if this makes enough noise, this is an opportunity for us to find out what problem do traditionalists really have with gays? This should be interesting....
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Comment:
Damon Leff 5/6/2012 12:18:44 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I encourage Gay Rights Groups to launch a class action suit against the House of Traditional Leaders for promoting hate speech. Why else do we have anti-hate speech legislation in this country?
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Comment:
Legals 5/6/2012 12:18:44 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
1. SA law does not have class action suits - each individual joining the application will ahve to be cited;
2. This is not enticement to violence and is thus not hate speech.

Parliament has the right to change the constitution.
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Comment:
Gayspeak 5/6/2012 12:10:59 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
We should petition the constitutional committee to outlaw traditional law because 90% of it is unconstitutional.
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Comment:
Owen McGillivray 5/5/2012 9:24:28 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
This has to be the most alarming proposal which sets the stage to worse conditions for LGBTI people. Pre-1994 conditions were harsh enough with police raids on private gay functions - there would always be a knock on the door just before midnight, transsexuals being thrown into jail for "masquerading" as a man, being scared out of your wits lest you be found sharing a bed with another man, even if you had no other place to sleep for the night - straight or gay, no chance to explain. Once I was told to f-off out of a toilet because I was in a cubicle with a friend - he was vomiting violently, & I was innocently trying to help. The thought of that still leaves me reeling!!! Now here is a debate about to take place that would put each and every citizen at risk, in a city one can still try to hide - but for what reason? My brothers and sisters in rural areas have no place to hide, that is disgusting!!!! We have all come so far to be dehumanised once again by the mere fact of the proposal of a debate!!! Would this also create a mine field for single "straight" people wanting to invest in a property purchase? - how would they prove that they are not "gay"????
Yes the time for apathy is definitely over and I will join the fight for the rights of all our people. The war is on!
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Comment:
Stephen Laverack 5/5/2012 8:38:42 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
And we pay for these bigots through our taxes. I swear to the higher power I will fight with every ounce of energy that i have not to not allow this to happen, using whatever means I have available to me. We have come way to far to allow these evil trolls to take us back!
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Comment:
5/5/2012 8:24:43 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
"The proposals must still be debated, but the very fact that it will be debated is dehumanising [to LGBTI]'
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Comment:
Anton van Staden 5/5/2012 7:42:22 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I will fight this homofobic attitude at all times and on all platforms. My Gay comrades have my full support. Discrimnation is just plain hatefull. Feel free to add me to the fight.
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Comment:
Beualha Nel 5/5/2012 5:38:24 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
How about every gay person in South Africa strike for a week or two. I mean every gay person in every occupation...let us see where it leaves them.
I agree, if they want war let's give war.
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Comment:
Xuan du Plessis 5/5/2012 3:00:47 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I will die fighting for our rights! Just point me in the direction where needed!!!
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Comment:
Mr GSA 5/5/2012 1:50:15 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Mr Gay South Africa will send out a press release early next week after consultation with some members of parliament.

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Comment:
Sandile 5/5/2012 10:21:40 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
How very appaling I'm a citizen and pay tax that they live off and this is what they want to do us the very people who are feeding them I don't care where their homophobia stems from Any group that has been discriminated against during apartheid understand how appaling descrimination is There's no excuse for such an attitude I'm prepared to fight for my constitutional right We fought and defeated apartheid We can fight and win this battle AGAIN
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Comment:
Ikraam 5/5/2012 1:28:25 AM Down Up Reply REPLY
Totally horrified at reading this, I just don't understand how the same people who were dehumanized would want to dehumanize other people, it always goes back to education and if people are educated enough they would not make such ignorant proposals, we have a long way in educating people especially those from rural areas... It's a shame and really appalling in every possible manner
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Comment:
GregoSA 5/4/2012 11:38:44 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I did not strike up the courage to come out to my parents on New Years Day aged 19- just to be shoved back into the closet. Give me a petition to sign my name to- give me a time and place and I'll be there defending my rights. I refuse to allow a traditional culture- I do not even believe in, to stop me from marrying a man or adopting a child. Regress for someones discriminative ways? Not happening today, tomorrow or anytime soon. It's absurd to even considerate it.
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Comment:
Luciano 5/4/2012 10:35:50 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
We all know that apartheid and racism is a disgusting and evil thing. So then how can those same people who know what it is to live under apartheid, use their so called culture and tradition to discriminate against woman and gay people. They are no better than the racists that they hate.
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Comment:
JustMe 5/4/2012 10:31:39 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I fully agree with your ideas and everyone needs to participate and get involved but in order for your ideas to be effective as best they can and for the convenience of everyone concerned would it not be an idea to have a centralised facility carrying news, events, people, contacts etc as you mentioned? My thinking: if it's easier to do something, the easier it is to do it. My 2c worth.
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Comment:
indi 5/4/2012 9:40:50 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
If you want to do something about it - Do something about it. Don"t look for someone to lead the way forward. Find out where the debates and critical decision making are happening. Pitch up there with your friends and family to be seen and make your voice heard. Government HAS to make it known where and when these debates etc. are going to happen in order for the process to be fair. Find out who the main players in the decision making are going to be, Bombard them with petitions and letters. Find out who is going to be representing your interests in the decision making, contact them and find out how you can help. The more you do the more, that will occur to you to do. If each of us acts only in our own capacity, our efforts will multiply and bring us together to where we're needed.
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Comment:
hmmmm.... 5/4/2012 6:52:06 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
When they came for the Jews, I did nothing, for I am not a Jew. When they came for the Socialists, I did nothing, for I am not a Socialist. When they came for the labor leaders, the homosexuals, the gypsies, I did nothing, for I am none of these, and when they came for me, I was alone, there was no one to stand up for me. __ Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor from Nazi Germany
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Comment:
Wayne 5/4/2012 6:39:47 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
In the South African context anything is possible no matter how far fetched it may seem in the present. We need a swift decisive response to stem the tide of this thinking as soon as it raises it's ugly head. Agree with Rus - tell me where and Ill be there to march, protest, donate, whatever.

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Comment:
JustMe 5/4/2012 6:33:11 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I can't help but think that those in favour and even willing to enter into discussion over the validity of my own private sexuality - those I don't even know or know me, also, by implication, support corrective rape. If our rights are to be discounted then we will be raped and the rapist is hailed as righteous. It's a SICK situation. Shame on anyone who entertains the abovementioned discussion. Shame on you!
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Comment:
Rus Grobbelaar 5/4/2012 6:09:21 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Is it not typical of the ignorant grand standing of these intellectually stunted individuals who are so out of touch with reality its scary. Count me in, where must I march, what pertoition can I sign to help protect our rights as productive members of society. I am Gay and extremy proud - Rus
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Comment:
Wayne 5/4/2012 5:59:16 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Ok - so what do we do about it? As an exceptionally well educated and financially affluent minority, what are the next steps?
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Comment:
Caroline 5/4/2012 5:09:41 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Never mind having way too many wives.. I believe we should all have the right to live the way we choose and not judge or push ideologies or opinions onto others! Free n fair but a disciplined society is must for all!
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Comment:
JC 5/4/2012 4:49:04 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
This is bull that there can be two different sets or laws. Lets look at it this way. The government has their own law, its called compromise the traditional people want their own set of rules, maybe the gay community can apply for the same right as the traditional leaders to have our own court and pass judgments to those who murder and oppress gay rights, hey then we can bring back the death penalty.
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Comment:
Bruce 5/4/2012 3:56:58 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Time for us to start to pull together again.
in the 90's and 80's we all stood together and got our rights.. sad to say some of the people have passed on.
lets all stand together and say no way NO WAY.

Also its time for pride to be there as a mouth of the gay community.
Its not all about the party and get drunk.
Teach the people what the have and what people did so they could have rights and what the can lose
Have the parade stop and stand still for 10min.
make flyers to give out on the day and at clubs, bars, resturants and steamrooms.
take out adds in mags etc..
dont sand back.

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Comment:
M 5/4/2012 3:56:58 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
This!

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Comment:
Brutus 5/4/2012 3:45:49 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Sorry to say, but many are entitled to say now "I told you so". Wonder of the LGBT will for once react when it dawns on them that their sex and their parties could quite possibly land them in jail. Will probably only realise it when it is too late.
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Comment:
M 5/4/2012 3:38:52 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
These idiots must stay out of my bed, and out of my love-life. What's next? Sharia law in Mayfair? Inquisitions within catholic communities? This is opening up a can of worms!
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Comment:
JustMe 5/4/2012 3:35:47 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I don't necessarily have a problem with traditions and cultural beliefs, however when those oppsess and dominate another, there is a huge problem. This was the case with apartheid - dominance at the expense of others. One thing must happen then: either a non descriminatory, non oppressive resolution is saught or the very oppressive, discriminatory, traditions and values need to be abandoned - as was the case with apartheid.
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Comment:
Welp;; 5/4/2012 3:24:29 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Time to emigrate.
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Comment:
Brett 5/4/2012 3:03:11 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
This has been coming for a long time now. Don't be surprised. Remember that your President and many others would support it, while voices like Mandela's and Tutu's are no longer heard.
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Comment:
Elroy 5/4/2012 2:28:36 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I was disappointed at Gay Pride 2012. Not the party, that was extremely well supported, but the actual march. It was poorly planned and poorly supported, I thought: have we forgotten so soon what it was like before legalisation? Are we really so naive as to believe that we no longer need to be a visible force, that our battles are over? Apparently we are. Maybe now people will remember what pride was for.
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Comment:
Ryan 5/4/2012 2:20:50 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
So then, should we suggest bringing back apartheid?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
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Comment:
overit 5/4/2012 2:09:09 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
So over this backward bull. Let these blockheads have their country, setting my south african passport alight and taking out my canadian one. Goodbye Africa, goodluck.
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Comment:
Rolando 5/4/2012 2:09:09 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
That's a pathetic attitude overit. What if Mandela had decided to emigrate somewhere instead of fighting apartheid? Every country faces their challenges and its thanks to people who were prepared to take stand who overcame these challenges. You don't just give up and bugger off - you stay and make a difference. Your attitude makes me ashamed of those of us that have no commitment to this country and to actually getting off their arses and doing something to make things better. Sad, sad...
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Comment:
overit 5/4/2012 2:09:09 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
is that because you don't have anywhere else to go? you're fighting a loosing battle here, and it's not just THIS issue, it's pot-holes, home burglaries, hi-jackings, etc. and yes certainly this happens all over the world but also reverse racism, why just the other day i was told I'm the new k@ff!r and that our kind are now out numbered, and when i say we I mean whites. All this coz I told some guy not to cut in line. So i will go, thank you very much, canada is also my home, not just SA. it's like being a kid from divorced parents, If you don't like living with your mom you move in with your dad! I have every right to go and not fight for THEIR country, after all it s theirs.
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Comment:
roger 5/4/2012 2:09:09 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
sad overit, but true - regretably i agree with you.

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Maik 5/4/2012 1:05:09 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
I'm sorry, but that was clear...
I live now sinc three years in this country and even in this years i saw it coming. In ten years South Africa will be in the same Situation than Simbabwe...
There hasn't been a real democratic President since Mandela!
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Wayne van Niekerk 5/4/2012 1:02:36 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
We will need for once in our lives to stand together as a group. As the writer rightfully says - we have a fight on our hands. Our constitution cannot and must not be amended or else. A thought - would my my marriage no longer hold water ?
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