Qalakaliboli Dlamini, the Swaziland journalist whose articles attacked gays and called battered women ‘bitches’, has been sacked by his newspaper.
But, he was not sacked for his articles, even though they caused a storm of protest from readers.
Instead, he was dismissed because of comments he made on his Facebook page about the Times Sunday, the newspaper that employed him.
Qalakaliboli Dlamini, aged 41, whose real name is Musawenkhosi Dlamini, became notorious during 2012 for articles he wrote for the newspaper.
Among his targets were battered women. In December 2012 he wrote that they were ‘bitches’ and said ‘most’ women who were beaten up by men brought it upon themselves.
After the publication of the article a range of organisations, among them the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations, Coordinating Assembly for Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO), Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland National Association of Teachers, Swaziland Positive Living and the Swaziland Agricultural Producers Union (SAPU), called for an apology.
Makila James, the US Ambassador to Swaziland, also publicly backed readers who complained about the article.
The newspaper refused to apologise. Instead, the newspaper’s readers’ representative ruled that Dlamini had a right to his views.
Readers boycotted buying the newspaper in protest.
In May 2012, Dlamini was briefly suspended by the Times Sunday after he wrote an article attacking homosexuals as ‘satanic’ and ‘evil’. In the article he said, ‘I hate homosexuality with every fibre of hair or flesh in my body.’
The article received what Times Sunday editor Innocent Maphalala called an ‘unprecedented’ number of complaints.
At the time, Dlamini responded to his critics saying, ‘I am not at all apologetic for my choice of words.’
He added, ‘I will continue to stand up against homosexuals and if need be, I will run a public anti-homosexual campaign.’
His sacking was not the result of readers’ complaints. Times Sunday editor Innocent Maphalala, writing in his own newspaper, said Dlamini was dismissed because ‘while writing for us, he used Facebook to disparage management and staff of the Times Group of Newspapers.
‘He also had many unkind words to say about our other columnists like the respected Musa Hlophe and the likeable Bundu Teacher.’
He added, ‘We were alerted to this by Facebook users who wondered what was going on because they thought we were one big happy family, especially after I defended Qalakaliboli a year or so ago, when everybody was against him for bashing women and gays in his articles.’
Dlamini’s sacking took place in January 2014, but has only now become public. Maphalala said this was because Dlamini had been writing comments on his Facebook page which were ‘detrimental to the image of the Times Sunday, in particular, and the Times Group of Newspapers in general.’
He added, ‘I view his behaviour as unprofessional and have sent email messages, privately warning him to stop. He has not.’
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