2016 has certainly seen an unprecedented increase in the number of racially motivated hate-related incidents that have been reported. The latest to have stirred up this sore talking point is that of the “coffin” incident, in which Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa was shoved into a coffin by two men, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, who threatened to douse the coffin with petrol and set him alight.
The pair were allegedly involved in another attack – 27-year old Delton Sithole said he was also assaulted by the two men.
The response to these attacks have been overwhelming, with public outcry at an all-time high. Some communities have rallied together in support of Mlotshwa and have started a crowd-funding scheme.
“We – a group of white South Africans – have raised [R10 950] for Victor Rathabile Mlotshwa as a way of expressing our contrition over what happened to him during the coffin incident,” Elizabeth Allen said on behalf of the #WhitesDoCare fund. The initiative began as a result of the perceived generalisation that white people do not care about these racially motivated incidents.
“We do not agree with what those men did to him and we want to make amends and insist we are not lumped with them. We condemn racism and cruelty towards our fellow black citizens and any attempts to make them feel inferior or demeaned in any way,” Allen said.
The fund aims to raise R20 000 and will stay open to donations until Christmas Day.
So far just over half the amount has been raised by 36 funders, with the total currently standing at R10 950.
Some people have questioned the group’s motives, but Allen insists that it is a simple gesture of support.
“We hope to make 2017 a better year for Victor Rathabile by means of this token. The poor man is so disadvantaged that he apparently does not even own a phone, however we have sent word to him of our fund raising attempts via journalists, the Middelburg Magistrates’ Court, and his ANC spokesperson. We will be handing over the money to him on Old Year’s Day to wish him good luck into the new year on behalf of right-thinking white South Africans who care,” she said.