Georgina Guedes

Beach bigotry

2014-01-06 07:33

Georgina Guedes

I wouldn’t be on a crowded beach on New Year’s Day for all the taxpayer’s money in Nkandla. In general, I try to seek out beaches with as few other people as possible. Being on a deserted beach is one of life’s great pleasures for me.

So, like many other South Africans this festive season, I’ve looked at the photos of the crowds at Durban, Port Elizabeth and Muizenburg over New year, and I’ve shuddered. But as these photos continued to do the rounds on Facebook and Twitter and the mainstream media, I’ve begun to shudder for another reason.

I think that a lot of people who are looking at and forwarding those images and saying, “look at those ghastly crowds”, actually mean “look at those ghastly crowds of black people.” Because, let’s face it, the majority of the people in those photographs are black. And no one’s posting photos of the multiracial crowds at malls at Christmas and saying, “Look at those ants.”

The comments speak the truth

The beach photos are the most viewed story on News24. Comments underneath reflect that the race of those in the photographs is the problem for many readers.

Solutions to this “problem” have been put forward: one way to keep the crowds off the beaches would be to charge an entry fee. Now, in South Africa, in general, the economic divide is a racial divide. The suggestion to charge an entry fee tacitly expresses a desire to keep people of a certain colour out.

Really, this is a roundabout way of saying that we should bring back the “Whites only” signs, with the addition of “And blacks who drive BMWs or better”. That’s the New South Africa for you.

Realistically, why shouldn’t all those people be there having a good time? It’s not my kind of a party, so I avoid it, but it certainly doesn’t bother me that other people are there. It’s not a problem that needs to be addressed.

And yes, people get hurt and it’s taxing on emergency services, but the same thing can be said of all the affluent people driving around drunk in their luxury vehicles at 01:00 on 1 January.

The burden of bigotry

Whether people have been communicating their aversion to the colour of the crowds on the beaches in bold headlines or subtle subtext, it’s definitely there and it’s definitely ugly.

Rather than entering the new year with the same burden of judgement and bigotry as they held last year, these people should let it go, move on and accept that the world is full of people who are different and who view the world differently.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24


SHARE: 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 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.