Arts and Culture Minister
The DA has called on Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana to resign after she stormed out of an exhibition because she believed that photos by a lesbian photographer were “immoral”.
Annelie Lotriet, the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, said that Xingwana’s behaviour has revealed her to be “a homophobe” and described her attitude as “bigoted and regressive”.
Lotriet added: “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 minister walked out of the exhibition by young black female contemporary artists funded by her department, which included photographs of lesbian couples, stating that what she had seen was “…immoral, offensive and going against nation building”.
One of the pictures in the exhibition
by photographer Zanele Muholi.
Lotriet said that she had seen the photos on display and that they “are quite beautiful”. She went on to state: “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.”
The South African Screen Federation (SASFED), which represents the interests of film and television industry organisations in the country, said that “The role of the minister is to act as a champion of the arts and culture sector and to support, without fear or favour, the freedom of expression – a basic human right. The minister’s role is not that of moral watchdog or to serve as a censor”.
The group accused Xingwana of behaviour “associated with our authoritarian past, not our present or future,” adding, “Surely the minister needs no reminding that our constitution outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation”.
The DA said that if the minister does not have “enough perspective to sanction herself and resign”, President Jacob Zuma needs to take action and fire her.