Report: KZN lesbian couple attacked by community head

Durban Pride 2016

Durban Pride 2016

A KwaZulu-Natal lesbian couple have claimed that they were thrown out of their community by the local induna for being “possessed”.

Nonkululeko and Nokuthula Mthembu told News24 that they had moved into a home in KwaNgcolosi, outside of Durban, three months ago.

The women claimed that after community leader Induna Mlethwa Ndlela discovered they were married and not sisters, he and his family earlier this month attacked them while they were sleeping.

“They came here and accused us of selling drugs, said that we were possessed with Satanism and that we were going to bring the spirit of homosexuality in the community,” Nonkululeko said.

She added: “He said this was because gay couples were not allowed in the area. His wife told us she was disgusted that we had the guts to go around telling the world that we had been married for three years”

The women said that they were forced to flee their home. “We have been living in lodges and hotels because we are afraid to go back there.”

While Induna Ndlela refused to comment, KwaNgcolosi chief Inkosi Nkosinathi Bhengu told News24 that the women’s sexuality was not the reason they were unwelcome. He said that it had been decided two years earlier that people who are not part of the KwaNgcolosi clan would not be allowed into the community.

“Why would we judge someone based on their sexuality? The issue here is not about sexuality, it is about land,” said Bhengu.

KwaZulu-Natal is known as one of the country’s most culturally conservative regions. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was accused of making anti-gay statements in 2012, including proclaiming that homosexuality is “wrong”, “not acceptable” and “un-Zulu”.

In 2013, the Zulu Royal House reacted to a same-sex traditional-style wedding held in the town of Stanger, a historic location for the Zulu people, by stating that “homosexuality is not holy”.

To his credit, KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders Inkosi Phathizwe Chiliza condemned the claims of discrimination against the couple as unconstitutional.

“Even if it goes against your beliefs, you have no right to infringe upon other people’s rights. You have no right to judge others because that is the way they were created,” he said.

He urged the couple to pursue the matter in the local traditional court.

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