A student has defended a South African arts academy and claims that it helped “cure” her of being a lesbian.

Creare Training Centre in Bloemfontein boasts that it seeks to convert gay students into heterosexuals through “rehabilitation”.

Equality campaigners have denounced the academy, describing it as “tragic, shameful and deeply hurtful.”

Earlier this week, Dawie Nel, the director of gay rights organisation OUT, said the academy’s stance breached South Africa’s anti-discrimination laws.

However, in a short letter to the South African Times newspaper, an unnamed student writes:

I would like to respond about the way Creare Training Centre in Bloemfontein is being attacked.

I happen to be one of those ‘lesbians’ who have been offered a life-changing opportunity.

I was in a gay relationship for seven years and on the verge of suicide.

When I came to Creare I found healing that I can never explain. I had a split personality because I had to live two different lives.

Creare showed me that there was a way out and showed me God’s amazing love for EVERYONE!

There is no doubt in my mind that He created me and loves me!

I will always be eternally grateful for what God in my life through Creare!

Amen!”