Members of the Ebuhleni Nazareth Baptist Church in South Africa stand accused of beating Dumisani Ngcobo, above, after accusing him of being gay.
The 43-year-old from Emaswazini, near Pietermaritzburg, claimed in this report that the assault took place in January and that he was not given a chance to explain that he was not a homosexual.
I’m not gay. I’ve never had any relationship with the same gender as myself. I don’t even know the man they accuse me of sleeping with with.
He explained that the man he was accused of molesting was a stranger who needed a place to sleep. He welcomed him into his tent outside the church.
We were lying down when I mistakenly touched him while I was looking for my phone. In the morning I was called by preachers who told me the man had told them I sexually harassed him. I tried explaining, but they didn’t listen and started beating me with sticks.
Ngcobo said he wanted his name cleared so he could go back to church. His brother Sipho, 45, confirmed that that Ngcobo is not gay.
He’s not married, but he does have a girlfriend.
Church spokesperson Thokozani Mncwabe said he was unaware of the incident.
But I’ll contact the man to get the full details.
He said the church is against people being beaten.
I believe the people who did this were amateurs. Real leaders know the correct procedure to follow if a member breaks the rules.
Ngcobo said the church’s preacher had warned him that if he didn’t plead guilty he would be killed.
I did admit I touched him. I was saving my life. I said I touched him intentionally. After that I was called into a room. The preacher told me to take off my church robe.
I lay down on a straw mat. He took a huge stick and started beating me. I was beaten from the head to the legs. He went on until I was helpless. I was numb and I was bleeding from head to toe. He told me to leave and never look back.
Another of the victims, who did not want to be named, confirmed that men accused of being gay had been beaten at the church.
They used sticks. We were taken into hospitals close to homes. My family knows but they are silencing everything. They are scared of shaming the church. But we have been silent enough about this. Being gay does not mean we are not humans.
Sipho Ngcobo added:
We were shocked when he [Dumisani] arrived home. He was severely bleeding from the head. My aunt had to take care of the wounds and the bleeding.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn