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Zulu king slams ‘rotten’ gays, earning rebuke from Zuma

The traditional leader of South Africa’s Zulus, King Goodwill Zwelithini has slammed gays as “rotten”, drawing a rebuke from President Jacob Zuma, The Times reported Monday.

“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,” he said at a ceremony 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.”

South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to extend equal rights to gays, and is the only nation in Africa to allow same-sex marriage.

Zuma himself sparked a firestorm six years ago, before he was president, when he was quoted as saying that same-sex marriages were “a disgrace to the nation and to God” and that he would have beaten gays when growing up.

He later apologised.

On Sunday, sharing the stage with the king, South Africa’s first Zulu president urged the nation to end discrimination against gays.

“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.