A lesson about racism over breakfast

2012-05-12 15:53

Not much eating happened when DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane invited two models for breakfast, but it gave the pretty faces of South African racism a chance to face up to their tweets.

Maimane told City Press this week that he was surprised when Jessica Leandra dos Santos and Tshidi Thamana accepted his invitation to reconcile at his Roodepoort home.

After the women’s recent racist tweets caused national outrage, Maimane said he decided to intervene when he got a tweet from someone saying they hoped the women would die and get raped. “It was getting toxic and I felt there had to be some intervention,” he said.

Almost 100 complaints about the tweets have been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission, but Maimane said he felt the women should talk in person.

It’s been nearly two weeks since Dos Santos used the k-word in a tweet, describing an encounter she’d allegedly had with a black man.

Thamana retorted by saying she wished former youth leader Peter Mokaba’s wish of killing whites had come true.

Maimane and his wife – he only revealed she’s white, but didn’t want her name published – used the breakfast to explain racism to the women.

Maimane explained to Dos Santos exactly how much the k-word hurt him, while his wife asked Thamana if she really wanted all white people dead.

The models apologised to the nation and to each other at a press conference after the breakfast on Wednesday, during which they apparently only pecked at the fruit, yogurt and muesli on offer. The croissants remained untouched.

Maimane said the women had to be made aware of how serious their utterances were.

Questions were asked on social networking site Twitter about how genuine their remorse was, but Maimane said symbolism was important – something former president Nelson Mandela understood well, he added.

Maimane said if it was a mere publicity stunt, the meeting would have happened at a “neutral venue”.

Having a meeting at all had been very risky, things could have turned ugly, he said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.