Cape Town swim school at centre of racism row

Cape Town - The owner of a Cape Town swimming school at the centre of a racism row is "devastated" that they were accused of being racists and puts the blame on a communication error.

This after a Facebook post by a southern suburbs mother accusing the Swim4Life children swimming school of racism after she enquired about classes for her 1 and 3-year-old children, and was informed there were no spots available. She first enquired in August and was told she would be put on the waiting list.

After enquiring again early this month, she was informed there were still no available spots for her children.

Not convinced, she created a second profile under another name, specifically that of a white person.

After enquiring about lessons for her 1 and 3-year-old, was told there was space for the 3-year-old at a gym in Claremont and the 1-year-old in Newlands.

The angry mother then took to Facebook, where she posted screenshots of the email correspondence with the swimming school, and lambasted them for the alleged racism behaviour, a post which has been shared almost 2 000 times since Saturday.

Swim4Life owner Ross Johnston told News24 on Sunday that the correspondence was taken out of context, as Mbiyozo had enquired about group classes and when "Anderson" was told there was space, it was for individual lessons.

"I promise this had nothing to do with race. It was a misunderstanding because when the administrator who deals with client enquiries informed 'Anderson' of the space, she did not make it clear that it was only for one on one, not group."

He said one on one slots routinely opened up during the school holidays when parents changed dates and new clients were informed of the availability.

Johnston said he had tried to contact the Mbiyozo family to straighten out the misunderstanding and talk about the racism allegations, but they were out of the country.

"We are not racists. We just want children to swim."

He said he would love for people to go to the school to see for themselves that they are interracial.

Mbiyozo, who is now out of the country, posted a follow up, thanking Facebookers for their support and sharing the post. She said she had not told her story to draw sympathy for her family but because "mentalities like this are very prevalent and there should be a cost".

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