Target of racist rant ‘sad’

2018-05-08 16:00
Screenshot of owner of Team Thatch Richard Howard Borain who is alleged to have threatened a Johannesburg filmmaker and said 'Black people are a problem'.

Screenshot of owner of Team Thatch Richard Howard Borain who is alleged to have threatened a Johannesburg filmmaker and said 'Black people are a problem'.

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WATCH: Filmmaker says panga-wielding man threatened to cut his face in two

2018-05-05 08:33

A filmmaker from Johannesburg says a panga-wielding man from Pietermaritzburg threatened to cut his face in half in a racial attack.WATCH

A Filmmaker who alleges that a panga-wielding Pietermaritzburg man threatened to cut his face in two, says he was saddened by the incident as he had only fond memories of the city.

Thabiso Tshabalala (34), a filmmaker from Johannesburg, said the panga-wielding man, identified as the owner of Team Thatch Richard Howard Borain, told him that “black people are a problem”.

“I am not from Maritzburg but I attended Alexandra High School and studied at Varsity College in the city so it was my first time back in like 10 years. So it was very sad because I always saw Maritzburg as a great place where people don’t see colour, ” he said.

Tshabalala caught some of this interaction on camera and posted it on social media.

“My crime here was just being a black man in South Africa. That’s what I did wrong,” he told News24.

The incident happened in Chase Valley Downs at around 4 pm on Thursday.

Tshabalala was on assignment in Pietermaritzburg, shooting a commercial for the Department of Forestry.

He said he was sitting in the car, keeping a watch on the camera equipment in the back of the Mercedes-Benz when a vehicle pulled up next to him.

“I was on the driver’s side, minding my own business, when I saw a car reverse. This guy then started taking pictures of me, my face and the car,” said Tshabalala.

“I held up my phone and pretended to be taking pictures [of him] even though I wasn’t, because I just brushed it off as one of those things.”

Tshabalala said Borain drove off but then pulled up next to him a second time, this time far more aggressively — leaving tyre marks on the road.

“He started screaming: ‘I’m tired of you f***ing black people’.”

That’s when Borain reached for the panga, said Tshabalala.

“I tried to keep calm. I didn’t know what he was reaching for. At first I thought it was a gun.”

Tshabalala jumped out of his car and ran for safety at the rear of his vehicle.

He alleged that Borain threatened to cut his face “in half”, while making a swinging motion with the panga.

That’s when Tshabalala began filming, holding the phone to his chest, so it wasn’t obvious.

In the video Tshabalala tells Borain that he is being racist and that he can’t say black people are a problem.

Borain responds by saying that he can, that it’s a fact and that he’ll even tell former president Jacob Zuma that black people are a problem.

The two go back and forth arguing about the matter and then Borain can be heard saying: “Black people are a problem bru, they are. Let’s be honest, come on ... but you’re not, I didn’t say all of you.”

When Tshabalala says he is offended, Borain says: “Don’t be, you’re not one of them, obviously.”

Tshabalala said the incident proved that racial profiling was still a reality in the country.

“It’s a reality that we don’t want to admit that we live in. I looked at the situation and I thought there are so many more people who experience the same thing. It’s sad that in South Africa crime has a skin colour. We are all victims of crime.”

Tshabalala said Borain’s number was being shared on social media and that he decided to phone him on Friday to tell him that his behaviour was unacceptable.

“He was very apologetic. But I told him that I can’t swallow his apology right now,” he said.

Borain confirmed to News24 that he and Tshabalala spoke on the phone, but said he would not be commenting further on the matter.

He told News24 that Tshabalala accepted his apology.

Tshabalala has since reported the incident to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and is seeking legal advice.

When The Witness contacted Borain on Monday, he said there were always two sides to a story but refrained from recounting his version because he was advised by his attorney not to speak to the media.

Mixed reaction to video

Tshabalala said he has been getting mixed reactions on social media after sharing the video.

“Some people were saying I should have used violence but for me violence wouldn’t have resolved the matter, but would have actually made the situation a whole lot worse and I would also be part of the problem.

“Some people were offended by the incident because it was not a personal attack on me but an attack on every black person. How can he say ‘but you are not one of them’, how can I not be one of them when I am black, I don’t know what his qualification criteria for being black is.”

Tshabalala said one person said he should understand that Borain was concerned about his safety because of farm attacks and Julius Malema’s hate speech.

“Had he walked up to my window and asked me why was I there, I would have happily explained to him, but his reaction was uncalled for. It was definitely a racial attack,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  racism

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