Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele, the woman behind what is set to be the country’s newest political party, has said that there is no place for homophobia in South Africa.

Ramphele recently announced the formation of Agang (“Build South Africa”), which is expected to contest the 2014 general elections in a final form still to be confirmed.

The “party political platform,” as Ramphele calls it, has also yet to formulate detailed polices because it is still “consulting widely with fellow South Africans”.

Ramphele, however, made clear her views on the issue of LGBT equality in an interview with the City Press newspaper, published on Sunday.

“That we have homophobia today is a disgrace,” Ramphele replied when asked about her take on homophobic violence and the rights of gay people.

“We have a formal system that protects everybody to express themselves,” she said. “But again we haven’t educated people to understand that being orientated sexually in a particular way is not a crime, is not a disease; it’s a not something you can cure.”

“It is how God created us,” Ramphele stated.

Mamphela (65) is a former anti-apartheid activist, a medical doctor, an academic and a successful businesswoman. She has been a vocal critic of the ANC government.

In her speech launching Agang, she said that it intends to revive the South African dream of “a prosperous constitutional democracy united in its diversity”.

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