‘Monkey lover’ beating

2011-09-16 00:00

A UKZN student from Zambia was attacked outside the popular Crowded House club in the early hours of Friday , September 2, in what he says was an act of blatant racism.

Likando Mbumwae (22) said the attackers called him a monkey and a k****r. Mbumwae went to the club with a fellow student, a white American woman, on Thursday evening.

The American arrived in the country last month.

Said Mbumwae, a BCom student, “We were outside the club ready to go home when one white chap from a group came towards us and told my friend that she was too good for me. I asked him why and he said “because you are black, dude”. This chap then called my friend a “monkey lover”.

“Being black and in the company of a white woman doesn’t warrant the treatment these chaps meted out at me,” said Mbumwae. He decided to leave and as they approached a taxi standing in the area the men continued calling him names.

When he was about to get into the taxi the man who started the taunts allegedly grabbed him and started punching him. The barrage of blows landed Mbumwae on the tar road and his assailants started kicking him while he was still down.

He said he counted six atackers. The events happened fast and blows were coming from all directions.

“I tried hard to block the blows and kicks to my face and head, but I was outnumbered. All these men weighed above 80 kg because they all had muscles. The smartest thing for me to have done was to run away, but they never gave me a chance.

“For how long must a black African run away from whites who do not want to accept change?”

Mbumwae said white students who knew him from campus advised him to let go of the matter.

“They said I should not involve the police or the media because those men will hunt me down and finish me off.”

His woman friend, who asked not be named, said she was shocked and disturbed by the incident. “I just wanted to have fun and chill, but these bullies have killed all that feeling I had when I first came into the country last month. These guys even called me monkey lover and I still can’t understand what my friend did to them.”

Kewin Lebone, a researcher at the SA Institute of Race Relations, said crimes where race is believed to be a factor are setting the country back. “These crimes will crop up from time to time and they are blocking progress towards a non-racial country, and are committed by individuals … the majority of South Africans have accepted living together.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm is being investigated. She confirmed that the police have CCTV footage from the SafeCity surveillance cameras. 

A police source said the police have a clear-cut case and that arrests are imminent. Police are yet to obtain a statement from Mbumwae’s friend and are appealing for any eyewitnesses to the incident to call Warrant Officer Brett Rasmussen at 033 845 2748 or 071 607 0128.

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