"If David Bullard can, justifiably, get hauled over the coals for
racism, Jon Qwelane certainly deserves the same treatment for being a
homophobe and, in fact, a basic, all-round idiot" – this is just
one of thousands of comments posted on the social networking site
Facebook where nearly 2 000 people have joined a group called
"Appalling Homophobia In Our Midst", writes Kashifa Ajam in the Pretoria News.
And neither the SA Human Rights Commission (HRC) nor the Press ombudsman has ever received as many complaints as they have this week over Qwelane's controversial column titled "Call me names, but gay is NOT okay…"
HRC spokesperson Vincent Moaga said: "I have never seen anything like this. I have been working here for just over a year now and the number of complaints we have received are, well, phenomenal.
"All our staff's e-mails are on the website, so people are mailing their complaints to everyone. Our e-mail system is completely blocked. And I haven't even checked the faxes or the post box yet."
Khanyi Mndaweni, who has been working as the personal assistant to Press ombudsman Joe Thloloe for about seven months, said her phone had been "ringing off the hook since Monday".
"People are calling and e-mailing their complaints. And Thloloe has not been here this week. He'll have his hands full when he comes back.".
In the article, Qwelane writes: "The real problem, as I see it, is the rapid degradation of values and traditions by the so-called liberal influences of nowadays; you regularly see men kissing other men in public, walking holding hands and shamelessly flaunting what are misleadingly termed their 'lifestyle' and 'sexual preferences'."
He further writes: "There could be a few things I could take issue with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, but his unflinching and unapologetic stance over homosexuals is definitely not among those."
One user on the Facebook group posts that he used to look up to Jon, but as a black and proudly gay male, "he is off my pedestal".
"If our elders that we look up to can say such things about their own sons and daughters, who is there to lead and guide us?"
Another user writes: "It makes me so sad to see how some stupid closed-minded ass**** thinks he can come along and try to put us down. We will stand in our masses and we will be proud to fight for who we are. A reaction he expects, well he will get not one, but thousands."
Another Facebook group member says: "I am disgusted, horrified and outraged by both the Sunday Sun and Jon Qwelane for contriving and publishing this flagrant display of hatred and I will support any measures undertaken to make them account for the harm that they have caused.
"There is human blood seeping through the pages of the Sunday Sun. There is human blood dripping from the finger tips of Jon Qwelane."
When contacted about this matter Qwelane said that he had "no idea" complaints had been made. He said: "I stand by my column. Whatever happened to freedom of speech in this country?"
But there is one person who thinks that Qwelane is entitled to his own personal opinion – and that's fellow columnist David Bullard.
Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za