South Africa: Facebook post spurring questions on racism

By Editorial Board - 4 January 2016 at 11:01 pm
South Africa: Facebook post spurring questions on racism

Steve Slater

The South African political party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has publically condemned the words of Penny Sparrow, the KwaZulu-Natal realtor.

Sparrow described black beachgoers on Facebook as “monkeys” in reaction to the rubbish left behind after New Year’s Eve festivities.

Before the post was deleted by Sparrow, she had written, “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day on to public beaches towns etc obviously have no education what so ever so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others.

“I’m sorry to say that I was amongst the revellers and all I saw were black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful and thoughtful black people. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try. But think they can voice opinions and get their way of dear.

“From now on I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same, pick and drop litter.”

Her post has speared a massive response from many in South Africa accusing her of racism and stating Sparrow is an example of many in the country who are not happy that South Africa is a democracy.

The ANC Youth League criticised her actions saying there has been an increase in racists tendencies recently. Collen Maine, the head of the youth league said “We have noted that racism is rearing its head as we have seen during the racist #Zumamustfall protests. People bought the old flag and as the Youth League, we will not leave this matter unattended,” reported News24.

Maine continued to say that the group will “mobilise every South African who believes in democracy and we will attend to this woman and many others.” He also stated that Sparrow’s membership to the DA whilst having been suspended is not good enough and is simply a public relations stunt which is not good enough in the eyes of the league.

Sparrow has publically apologised for the post but continued to state that her comments were facts during an interview with News24. “I put an apology up to say I didn’t mean it personally. That day on that beach it was all black people, I’m sorry to say it, but it is a fact of life. I said it as I felt it and I know it was wrong to do it on a public thing [Facebook] like that. I don’t know how it got out and we were all saying it,” Sparrow stated.

The party spokesperson for the Economic Freedom Fighters, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said on Monday that anti-black views have been normailised in South Africa. That whilst racists ideas had been kept behind closed doors for some time, social media has enabled people to view their thoughts more publically and without fear. Ndlozi said that posts such as this are an example of how reconciliation in South Africa has failed and that those who give these views are not reprimanded and therefore do it without any trepidation.

“These posts talk about black people as “barbaric”, as “animals”, “dirty” and as not belonging in public beach spaces as apartheid would have them be,” Ndlozi stated.

“Why would racists never fear thinking, writing and openly declaring their racism in South Africa? It is because there is nothing that will happen to them. They do not lose any privilege and benefit from being anti-black racists,” he added.

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

Africa Times is an independent participative online news site for Sub-Saharan Africa. We aim to empower all African voices through publishing content by a range of people, from academics to bloggers. We are dedicated to bringing the world an African view on life, up-to-date African news and analysis.

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