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MATSAPHA - The Ministry of Education and Training has called upon teachers to embrace and support gays and lesbians in schools and communities.

This was said by the ministry’s Director of Guidance and Counselling Lindiwe Dlamini during the commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV), which ended yesterday.

The event was organised by the Swaziland National Teachers Association (SNAT) and it was held at S & B Restaurant in Matsapha. It was attended by about 300 teachers from all over the country.

“Teachers and school administrators must be supportive to gays and lesbians because some of them also belong to the category but they are afraid to declare their status because they fear that their colleagues or headmasters were lacking confidentiality.

“So many children who are gays and lesbians fall into cracks because their teachers are ignoring them,” the director said.
She said quite often, when these pupils confront the teachers, the latter usually table a lame excuse not to attend to the former. She said teachers usually told the pupils that they were busy, they should come back later.

“Teachers must have the culture of tolerance in their hearts.
“Teachers must learn from the country’s neighbours, South Africa who in 2009 installed an open gay and HIV positive Judge Edwin Cameron as a Constitutional Court Judge.

“Cameron divorced his wife to live his gay life but he did not receive criticism, instead he was appointed to the highest position,” the director said.
Dlamini said he was once approached by a young man who was gay in a party and revealed how desperate he wanted his parents to know about his feelings and accept him.
She also said another case study could be Patricia Dludlu, the gay teacher who was arrested for indecent assault after he allegedly forcefully kissed another man.

However, this allegations are yet to be tested before court.  
Dlamini noted that some people who were gays and lesbians would always fear to declare themselves because people were not supportive and some lacked confidentiality.
She said the ministry already has a programme called ‘Indaba’, which would make sure that everyone in schools was supported, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
She said the support should be shown from pupils to the support staff up to school administrators.


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