The organisers of the first Feather Awards have withdrawn controversial ANC Youth League head Julius Malema following comments he made in weekend papers.
The Pink Feathers are, according to its organisers, “a tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony aimed at celebrating individuals who are seen as inspirations to the gay and lesbian community”.
Malema had been nominated in the ‘Drama Queen’ category against socialite actress Khanyi Mbau and musician and producer Arthur Mafokate.
When asked to comment last week on his nomination, Malema told The Times: “I don’t know what a drama queen is. I am in politics. I am not in drama, how can I comment about something I don’t know about.”
Later, in the Sunday World, Malema expressed his concern that the nomination was an attempt to lampoon him and said that he would not accept the award even if he were to win it.
“I don’t recognise them. I’m not a queen because a queen refers to a woman. Those who feel like participating in those awards can go ahead and do so. I’m a man, so why include me in that category? I’m not a queen. We make kings,” said Malema.
On Monday, the organisers of the awards announced that they had taken the decision to withdraw Julius Malema’s nomination.
“We never intended this ceremony to be an issue that would cause anyone stress or unhappiness,” said Thami Kotlolo, Feather Awards spokesperson.
“We were always clear that this was going to be a fun, light-hearted event – and judging from Julius’ comments on his nomination, he’s not having much fun – so we’ve decided to respect his feelings, and withdraw his nomination. Now it’s for Khanyi Mbau and Arthur to battle it out. Let the best queen win!”
The awards have been criticised by some for not including any gay people in its list of nominees, with gossip blogger Mika Stefano.com asking on his blog: “If you have decided to do an awards evening for the gay community, why not celebrate our own gay role models?”
Organisers say, however, that the intention is to “honour personalities who are considered icons, luminaries and stars by the gay community,” regardless of their sexuality.
Malema has become well known for making outrageous and controversial statement, including recently claiming that intersexed people did not exist in African culture.
The invitation-only Feather Awards ceremony will take place on the 11th of November in Johannesburg. Other categories in the event include Best Styled Female and Male, Hunk of the Year, Diva Extraordinaire of the Year, Role Model of the Year and Fag Hag of the Year.