(From Swazi Media Commentary 17 February 2009 www.swazimedia.blogspot.com)

    Swaziland’s most prominent gay rights advocate is back in the news.

       The Times Sunday reports that Mangosuthu Simanga Dlamini, the president 
of Gays and Lesbians Association of Swaziland (Galeswa) was present by 
invitation at the state opening of parliament earlier this month (February 

     Both Mangosuthu and the newspaper are silent on who it was who invited him 
to the opening officiated by King Mswati III.

      Mangosuthu came to notice in Swaziland in 1997 when on national 
television he publicly declared that he was a homosexual.

     His statement was seen as such a threat to the stability of Swaziland that 
Barnabas Dlamini, the then Prime Minister, (and also the present 
illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland) called homosexuality 
‘abnormality and sickness’ and declared that the government would not accept 
homosexuals unless society did so first.      A former Prime Minister Prince 
Bhekimpi, who is also a chief, said, ‘Homosexuality is regarded as Satanic in 
Swaziland. Therefore, I am forced to evict all gays and lesbians in my area.’ 
  King Mswati III, speaking at a national prayer meeting on the one occasion 
when he mentioned same-sex relations, said gay people were possessed of Satanic 
who was 21 years old at the time, responded by challenging Prime
Minister Barnabas Dlamini to a televised debate on homosexuality.
Barnabas being a bully and a coward chickened out and refused to appear.  After
declaring his homosexuality, Mangosuthu was sacked from his job at a
security firm and was believed to have moved to South Africa, where,
unlike in Swaziland, equality of gays and lesbians is enshrined in the
country’s constitution. The Times Sunday reported (15 February 2009) that 
Mangosuthu was now back in the country and instrumental in developmental 
projects in the Lubombo region – his home area.
and lesbians continue to be oppressed in Swaziland and from time to
time the Swazi media collude in this oppression. I have written before here and 
here about the way the newspapers use hate speech to demonise homosexuals and 
how journalists peddle their ignorance on the subject.
  Swaziland’s so-called leaders continue to harass homosexuals. Only this month 
Sigwe MP Sivumelwano Nxumalo, told a church meeting that Christians must fight 
tooth and nail to ensure that country is protected against ungodly practices 
like gay marriages. Nxumalo is so dripping in hatred that ‘he further urged all 
Swazi folk to fight against all non-Christian religions’.
  Despite this open hostility, gays and lesbians continue to meet and to 
advocate for their rights. Galeswa relaunched in 2006 with the aim of 
encouraging more people to openly declare their sexuality.
  A spokesperson for the organisation said, ‘As gay people, we want everyone to 
understand that gays are not made, but are born.’ Galeswa said even though the 
Swaziland Constitution did not guarantee gays and lesbians equality, at the 
same time people cannot be arrested for living gay lives.
  In 2005, Swaziland’s first gay club opened in Mbabane. It was described by 
one attorney as offering ‘limitless’ opportunities for blackmail, financial and 
political.  The
nation’s foremost traditional leader, Jim Gama, the ‘traditional’ prime
minister, was said to be ‘apoplectic’ when alerted by the Swazi media
about the gay bar. One Swazi newspaper said the bar would lead to a
‘Gays invasion!’
  We shouldn’t be surprised by this attitude to
homosexuality in Swaziland, this is after all a kingdom where Swazis
subjugate their women, flog their children and wave their Bibles in the
face of anyone who is different from them and where the absence of
freedom of expression helps to keep people in ignorance.
  But Swaziland’s gays and lesbians, although repressed, are resilient – to 
find out how, click here.  
Link http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2009/02/swazilands-gay-leader-is-back.html

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