Man lays charge over racism at Virgin gym

2012-02-07 16:00

Johannesburg - A Virgin Active gym member laid a criminal charge after he was insulted at Sunninghill Virgin Active, in northern Johannesburg, Independent Online reported on Tuesday.

A fellow gym member called Lesley Mofokeng a "boy" and accused him of "hogging the equipment".

Mofokeng said: "The guy came and started shouting and said, 'You black guys take everything. We know this is your fucking country, but you do not have to control everything."

This after the Star newspaper reported on Monday that a patron of Virgin Active Morningside, in Sandton, was racially insulted by another patron during a spinning class on December 31.

Liz Hleza said the man appeared enraged because she shouted "yebo" in her enthusiasm for the music and the exercise.

"I was so scared and thought he was going to hit me, he was very angry. He said I should keep quiet and kept saying this bloody kaffir, you kaffir," Hleza said.

She said at the time she was dissatisfied with the gym's handling of the matter.

Founder and chief executive of the Virgin group Richard Branson commented on the issue on Virgin Active SA's Facebook page, News24 reported earlier.

"We do not condone any form of discrimination at Virgin - especially racism," he said.

He said Virgin was taking the complaints "extremely seriously".

"[We] intend to look at all the facts to reach the right outcome for all parties concerned," Branson wrote.

  • Bokfan - 2012-02-07 22:32

    Hmmmmnnn White racism is the flavour of the moment hey. Some Malema supporters trying to bite back perhaps? That said, white racism is a huge problem. Not quite as big as black racism but a helluva handful all the same. We all deal with every racial group everyday. Of all these billions of positive interactions it just takes some box to make his and his community's name gat. Perhaps its time to engage with individuals. Not groups.

      Patrick - 2012-03-13 10:12

      White racism was made into law.It became institutionalised.It got entrenched.To some extent it became acceptable to victim.It still dominate social thought to this day.You can be racist without realizing it.Whites have been advantaged in all spheres over the decades.This advantage can be used to help eradicate perceptions of intentional racism from the side of whites.It will always be this side that is always scrutinized,sometimes wrongly.Black bashing we always attract social and legal sympathy,given our political history in terms of racial ralations.

  • Dannielle - 2012-02-08 07:41

    Forgive me if im wrong but doesnt it seem like all of a sudden any kind of comment with be taken out of context . . .we only know one side of the story at the moment, and there are always three sides ; your side, my side and the truth. so before we judge shouldnt we have all the facts and points of view? Im starting to think that we will only hear one side...

  • Dickson - 2012-02-08 08:10

    White people are beaten, raped and then killed, that is racist. Calling someone names should not be such a big issue. If someone tells me off and i don’t like it, i defend myself verbally. What is the big issue?

      tc.countee - 2012-02-08 11:46

      I think people of all creed and colour are being raped/beaten/killed, regardless of race in SA. I think thats a little insensitive as well, beacause of the history that certain words hold. There are such words for people that are white, black, chinese, indian, jewish, muslim, arab. So just to tell someone off when being called the K word, in my opinion is not sufficient. I don't want to clog up an already clogged judicial system, but now and again every clown needs a high 5 with a chair to the face..

      richard.winterton - 2012-02-14 13:13

      You're right tc.countee and so is Dickson, people of all races are being robbed, raped, beaten and murdered. The problem is which race is doing the robbing, raping, beating and murdering?

      Patrick - 2012-03-13 10:02

      Dickson,when does your count start?In our history whites killed so many blacks it should be considered a crime against humanity.Crime affects all races.Maybe some of it is revenge?You do not subjugate so many for so long and remain unconcious of the effects on their pshych.By continuing to be racist you are only fuelling the fire?Maybe you have a readymade exit to Newzealand?Otherwise apply your mind to the dynamics in this country.Think of your children's future in this country.There is no bigger venom to a nation than racial dysharmony.History has taught us well.Only those who refuse to learn will not learn. M

  • richard.winterton - 2012-02-14 12:53

    I have to agree with Lesley here. Lesley is a girls name not a boys name! Since when do you call Lesley a boy?

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