"Traditionally, there were no people who engaged in same sex relationships. There was nothing like that and if you do it, you must know that you are rotten," [the king] said at a ceremony on Sunday marking the 133rd anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana, where the Zulu army defeated British imperial forces. "I don't care how you feel about it. If you do it, you must know that it is wrong and you are rotten. Same sex is not acceptable."
But Zuma said at the ceremony that the country must end discrimination against gays and lesbians. "Today, we are faced with different challenges... challenges of reconciliation and of building a nation that does not discriminate against other people because of their colour or sexual orientation," Zuma said, according to The Times.
South Africa is the only African nation where same-sex marriage is legal. RSA and Seychelles boast the continent's only legal protections of LGBTs. But critics say Zuma has presided over a number of rollbacks on LGBT rights. Over the much-publicized objections of gay activists and human rights groups, Zuma appointed anti-gay columnist Jon Qwelane as its ambassador to Uganda, which has gained international scorn for its extreme state-sponsored anti-gay terror campaign.
Also: RSA first attempted to vote against—and then attempted to abstain from—a United Nations statement on anti-LGBT violence that passed in March 2011. South Africa later sponsored the United Nations Human Rights Council's historic resolution that condemns anti-LGBT discrimination and violence.
The rebuke marks an about face for Zuma, who caused a major controversy in September 2006 when he was vice-president. As the nation prepared to become the first African nation to grant marriage equality, Zuma said that same-sex marriage was "a disgrace to the nation and to God" and that he would have beaten gays when growing up. Zuma was later forced to apologize.
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