The man pictured above is Errol Naidoo, an aggressively anti-LGBT evangelical who heads an outfit called the Family Policy Institute (FPI).
Last year, according to this report, Naidoo – a fervent opponent of reproductive choice and LGBT rights – travelled to Budapest, Hungary for the 2017 World Congress of Families summit of ultra-conservative movements. There, he claimed that “all kinds of wickedness came into South Africa” in the 1990s, after the end of the apartheid regime, when:
The doors were thrown open and an ultra-liberal constitution was imposed on us.
A year before, in a video, he slammed a a proposed hate crimes and hate speech bill that he claimed would criminalise those who preached against the gay community.
Well, if South Africa’s new President remains true to form, Naidoo will get no support for his brand of intolerance from Cyril Ramaphosa, above.
For President Ramaphosa is no homophobe. Indeed, he has shown himself to be incredibly supportive of equality, and, according to this report, has a broadly positive record on LGBT rights.
As chairperson of the country’s Constitutional Assembly in the 1990s, Ramaphosa was a key player in the decision to extend constitutional protection to gay people – a world first at the time.
The Constitution states:
The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth. No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds above.
Just a few months ago he recorded a video for an event celebrating the country’s LGBT community, in which he pledged his support for equality and praised the “beautiful humanity” of LGBT people. In the clip, Ramaphosa said:
It is a sad truth that in our nation the LGBTI community are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised. They suffer discrimination, violence and abuse. We must as a nation do better than what we are now.
We are all born the way we are. We need to support, embrace and respect each other.
When we treat each other with dignity, we are all more dignified. When we treat each other with respect, we are all more respected. It is upon us all to contribute to the creation of a more just, equal and safe society.
Every South African must hold themselves, our communities, our institutions and our government accountable for upholding our laws and for protecting the rights of all in South Africa.
I wish you a glorious evening and ask that you enjoy yourselves, affirm yourselves and your identities as well as your various diversities and celebrate your wonderful, beautiful, outstanding humanity.
He has also served as chair of the South African National AIDS Council, which has pioneered outreach to the LGBT community to tackle HIV/AIDS.
His record stands in stark contrast to disgraced President Jacob Zuma, who was never supportive of LGBT rights.
Speaking in 2006, Zuma declared:
Same-sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God. When I was growing up [a gay man] would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out.
As President, Zuma declined to speak out against anti-LGBT laws in other African nations, insisting:
South Africa respects the sovereign rights of other countries to adopt their own legislation.
Hopefully, Naidoo’s outfit will now find it much harder to spread its poison and achieve its objective of:
Making the restoration of marriage and the family the cornerstone of South African social policy.
FPI’s arsenal includes a media production arm, two television programmes, and a YouTube channel, through which it seems to be intent on broadcasting hate masked as morality.
On its website, FPI thanks the “loyal support” of its “friends and partners,” though these supporters are not named, nor are their specific contributions. Elsewhere, Naidoo has explained how international support got the group started.
In 2015, Naidoo described how he and his wife attended a “six month training mission with Family Research Council in Washington DC in 2007”, and then “returned home and established FPI with nothing else but our faith.”
He claims that “attacks against the convictions and Biblical beliefs of Christians” are on the rise in South Africa, blaming anti-discrimination laws.
He also names international allies including hate groups such as America’s Family Research Council and the Christian conservative “legal army” Alliance Defending Freedom.