Cape Town – the hub of racism? 5 recent incidents

While South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy and the end of apartheid, the perception that Cape Town is still riddled with racism remains.

The 2014 SA Reconciliation Barometer released by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation on Wednesday, claims that South Africans are disillusioned with the idea of a united, “rainbow nation”.

The study follows continuous reports of racially-charged incidents across the country.

Cape Town and, to an extent the Western Cape, have long had a reputation of strained race relations as well as racial tensions, and 2014 was no different.

During the course of the year, myriad cases of racist incidents were reported in the country, with quite a handful concentrated in the Mother City.

Below are a few alleged racist incidents that have taken place recently in Cape Town:

1. ‘I don’t care if I pee on a black man’

Djavan Arrigone, a 19-year-old model and University of Cape Town student, allegedly claimed he didn’t “see anything wrong with urinating on the top of a black person” when he refused to apologise to a Khayelitsha taxi driver for allegedly urinating on him from a nightclub balcony.

The alleged incident happened in January this year at the Tiger Tiger club in Claremont, Cape Argus reported.

The driver went to approach the teenager who reportedly told him off.

The teenager allegedly said, “I don’t care … where must I pee? I can pee anywhere I want to and I don’t care if it is on a black man”.

Arrigone subsequently lost a contract with Boss Models SA, and  has been charged with assault and crimen injuria in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court.

The case has been postponed to December 12.

2. ‘Who’s a k****?’ – Green Point ATM brawl

In early November two men were involved in a racially charged altercation at a mall in Green Point.

The incident, captured on video which later went viral, was said to have started after a seemingly drunk white man called a black man the k-word near an ATM.

In the video, the men are seen shouting at and pushing each other before one of the men is knocked down and kicked in the head.

Both men were subsequently banned from the mall.

 3. The man who ‘hated all k****rs’

Last year, Cape Town salesman Andre van Deventer reportedly assaulted, racially abused and spat in the face of his ex-girlfriend’s domestic worker Gloria Kente in Table View.

The incident occurred when Van Deventer had been arguing with his ex-girlfriend and in his outburst, grabbed Kente’s pyjamas and spat in her face after telling her that he “hated all k****rs”, including her.

He later denied assaulting her but admitted to using the racial epithet.

In October, Van Deventer was ordered by the Cape Town Equality Court  to pay Kente R50 000 and on Friday found guilty, for the same offence, by the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

Van Deventer; however, maintained that he was not racist as he had coloured children.

 4. The Sjamboked Gardener

In November, Muhammed Makungwa, a Malawian national and gardener, was allegedly beaten with a sjambok by a white motorist while on his way to work.

The motorist, Jan Van Tonder – a dentist working for the SANDF – allegedly beat Makungwa viciously with a sjambok after nearly running him over with his car.

Van Tonder had reportedly heard a sound near his vehicle, saw Makungwa running and thought the gardener had broken into his BMW X5.

Van Tonder was arrested and later appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, crimen injuria as well as defeating the ends of justice.

An additional charge of attempted murder was later added to Van Tonder’s sheet, Eyewitness News reported.

The case was postponed for further investigation and will resume this month.

5. Stellenbosch Students in Blackface

In September, two Stellenbosch University students, Ross Bartlett and Mark Burman, were accused of racism and ‘blackfacing’ after a picture of them wearing wigs with their faces painted brown was posted on social media.

Both Bartlett and Burman defended their actions saying that the 21st birthday party they attended had a “celebrity duo” theme and they decided to go as American tennis players Venus and Serena Williams.

The two later said in a statement that it was not their intention to  “portray offensive racial stereotypes.”

This incident came after two University of Pretoria students were expelled from their res after posting a picture of themselves donning blackface.

The picture shows the pair in domestic worker outfits with black paint smeared on their faces and arms while posing with headscarves and padding under their dresses.

The picture drew much chagrin, particularly from social media users while others argued that the picture should not be taken seriously.

Read More:

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Pretoria officer investigated for ‘racist’ WhatsApp post

Spur, Wimpy to pursue legal actions after racist remarks

‘Racist’ biker attack footage allegedly leaked (video)

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