AfriForum lodges hate speech complaint against Zindzi Mandela

Staff Writer | Jul 09, 2019
Civil rights group AfriForum has laid a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela for her controversial tweets last month.

AfriForum official Alana Bailey said Mandela’s ‘hate-bearing’ attitude was contributing to ‘the polarisation of local communities’ and a 'dangerous discourse of scapegoating'.

She said in a statement: ‘With her messages, Mandela bore witness to a hate-bearing attitude towards white people in the country. She has publicly contributed to the polarisation of local communities. With crude language, as well as false and humiliating references such as “rapists”, “cowards” and “land thieves”, she is contributing to a dangerous discourse of scapegoating.’

In June, Ambassador Mandela sent out a series of tweets about the country’s land politics. These contained apparently derogatory references to white South Africans. One, for example, read: ‘Will be back for the Msunery here #OnMyTsnCs. Miss all these trembling white cowards, shem. Botha, Potgieter, Thieving Rapist descendants of Van Riebeck, etc: how are you my babies? We shall gesels more Mr Skont and Ms Unus #OurLand.’

She was widely criticised for these sentiments (although supported by some, too), with many observers pointing out that the divisive – and possibly racist – nature of her remarks were inappropriate for an ambassador. In the days immediately after, it was reported that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation was unable to contact her.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor later said she had instructed Mandela that, as an ambassador, it was expected that she would follow ‘a particular standard of conduct and communication’.

The Africa National Congress said it would not ‘entertain’ the suggestion that Mandela be recalled.

AfriForum indicated that the lack of robust action prompted its complaint to the SAHRC.


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