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South Africa’s queer community joined the rest of the globe this week in celebrating the election of new president Cyril Ramaphosa, who has long been a champion of LGBTQ+ rights in the country and the continent. Ramaphosa takes office following the resignation of Jacob Zuma, whose stance on LGBTQ+ rights has been less than glowing. In 2006, he reportedly said: “Same-sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God,” and his tenure was marked by a number of homophobic sleights.Perhaps the most insulting of these was Zuma’s appointment, from 2010 to 2014, of Jon Qwelane as South African ambassador to Uganda – a country struggling with homophobic bigotry of its own – after Qwelane had been found guilty of hate-speech by the Human Rights Commission for a newspaper column in which he equated same-sex marriage to bestiality.

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