by Melanie Nathan, January 27, 2012
UPDATED Cape Town, January 28, 2012: The Flag Boys did it! The won best dressed couple – Imagine gay boys dressed in camp Zulu warrior garb, protesting Zulu King’s homophobic remarks, win best dressed couple at H&B Met Red Carpet event! Read our pre-event report ……
South African gay activists Flag Boys, Huge and Henry, are set to go Zulu gay. The exhibitionist activists, designers and promoters of the South African Gay Flag are protesting the Zulu King for his anti-same-sex relationship remarks, by attending a prestigious South African horse racing event, dressed as camp Zulu Warriors.
The prestigious J&B Met, a televised premiere horse racing event, held at the Kennilworth Racecourse in Cape Town, draws fifty thousand fans to South Africa’s elite day of high fashion and glamor. The GAY Flag Boys, who will strut the VIP red carpet dressed as GAY Zulu warriors, are set to top even the most risky of ‘fashionista,’ of the day.
This year’s theme, coincidentally, happens to be ‘Made Different,’ which calls on attendees to challenge the status quo and to break the rules of fashion; our Flag Boys are doing much more they are challenging the Zulu King and the remarks he made against the South African Constitution.
Gays and Lesbians in KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of South Africa are still angry at King Goodwill Zwelithini for his flagrant homophobic remarks, which recently created a local firestorm. The Cape Town based LGBTI community will not allow the matter to rest until the King apologizes and retracts his condemnation of same-sex relationships.
The Met is a gathering of the rich and famous, the “groovers and movers,” as the web promo notes; “the fashion junkies and the thousands who seek to enjoy the intensity of life. It’s the running of the 35th J&B Met on 28th January.”
“People are encouraged to go over the top: “make your outfit from something truly different, wear what traditionally should not be worn, but whatever you do, make sure you do it differently. The J&B Met 2011 was a year of massive outfits, oversized accessories and gigantic personalities,” notes the organizer’s webpage.
We have obtained advance photos of our protestors and judging by them they are bound to fit in – and let us hope be notice, given the nature of the day’s extremes.
The King or his representatives have yet to apologize for his reported slur against the South African and Zulu Gay community; instead the royal household spun the issue, blaming an inaccurate translation of the speech, which only exacerbated the anger, causing the broader South African LGBTI community to view it as a cowardly attempt at denial.
Working in the framework of a united South Africa, the King owes an apology to his Zulu LGBTI community as well as all South Africans.
The King made his comments during a speech commemorating the Battle of Isandlwana near Dundee in the presence of South African President Jacob Zuma, who has taken an oath to uphold the South African Constitution, one which recognizes full equality under the law for same-sex relationships. The President stood silent after the remarks and did issue a timid statement thereafter, which was barely a reprimand.
His comments were widely understood by those present to mean that the monarch believed that homosexuality was not part of Zulu culture and that it was “rotten”.
A recorded extract of the speech includes the audience laughing, as the monarch talks about people being banished in the olden days from society.
“If you are one of the people I am talking about, people who have sex with people of their own sex, a man who sexually harasses another man, a woman who sexually harasses another woman, you are rotten,” he was reported as saying.
In a joint statement, Zulu royal family spokesperson Prince Mbonisi Zulu and Premier Zweli Mkhize’s spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya, denied that the monarch had condemned same-sex relationships in his speech, blaming the translation. However, after an extract was played to several Zulu linguists the consensus was that the King was indeed condemning same-sex relationships.
Nonhlanhla Mkhize of the KZN Gay Centre said the organization was “disturbed and hurt” by the king’s comments, but preferred to engage the Royal family on the matter, rather than take it to the Equality Court or to the SA Human Rights Commission.
The monarch’s comments could be dangerous to gays and lesbians “because of the stature of the king as a leader and father, ” said Mkhize.
The SA Human Rights Commission, which monitors and indicts against Hate Speech, which is illegal in South Africa, said it would be writing to the King to establish whether he had in fact made such statements and if he had to immediately retract them:-
“In the context of the growing levels of hate crimes against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersexed (LGBTI), the commission finds such utterances to be inflammatory. If it is indeed accurate that His Majesty, the Zulu king, made the utterances as reported, they constitute hate speech, are dehumanizing and are a violation of the constitutional right of LGBTI people to equality and freedom.”
“The king should use his powerful position not to dehumanize and discriminate certain people on the basis of their sexual orientation but to uphold the Constitution and promote tolerance and diversity,” the commission said.
In Just a few hours The Flag Boys will be on that RED VIP Carpet and on the cat walk at the J&B Met and we have a taste of the dress-up pictures to show in advance of the event. If you are in SA this ought to be quite a statement at a place where spectacle is the order of the day! Please watch this on television tonight and show your support for a retraction and apology by the Zulu King!
UPDATED: The SA FLAG BOYS were a big hit at the H&B Met, Kennilworth Cape Town, nominated for best dressed couple, while protesting homophobic remarks of Zulu King Goodwill! The TV coverage ensured their message spread beyond the 50,000 attendees and into the homes of South Africans and the world as they watched the premier horse racing event’s coverage of a day of fashion and glamor.