Racism: In search of Penny Sparrow’s people


It wasn't only Penny Sparrow who felt it necessary to take to social media to reveal her thoughts on black people this week. Athandiwe Saba, Zinhle Mapumulo & George von Berg find others and ask them why.

Anton von Lisenborg (73)



Von Lisenborg has a history of posting defamatory, racist posts on Facebook and Twitter.

City Press contacted him about various posts on his accounts containing the K-word and others in which he called former president Nelson Mandela a “terrorist”.

He was unapologetic, saying he uses the K-word to describe unbelievers (from Arabic) who kill white people. “I respect black people a lot. I have many black friends, who I have saved. I regard black people as people of God. But I regard black people who kill white people as well as the president who tells the black people to kill whites with his Umshini Wami song as k****rs.”

He also insisted the word ‘umlungu’ meant “dirt from the sea” and asked how it was okay for blacks to call whites that while the K-word was frowned upon.

After a tirade that went on for more than a minute, he abruptly ended the call and couldn’t be contacted again.

After the phone call, Von Lisenborg turned to Facebook to ask why City Press was not concerned with other people who had also said questionable things. He further explained his use of the K-word, saying that, by definition, he as a Christian could also be considered a k***ir as a non-Muslim.

– George von Berg

Justin van Vuuren (28)


Fitness instructor

Van Vuuren probably had no idea that his racist Facebook post would leave him with no sponsors for his mobile gym, FatTruckSA. He learnt this the hard way when FutureLife, his main sponsor, withdrew its sponsorship on Tuesday after enormous public pressure for it to do so on Twitter.

Van Vuuren posted that he didn’t care what people said, but he was “disgusted by the state of the Durban beachfront” and that “these people come from their homes ... to throw s**t all over the floor”. He added that “these people” were animals and the promenade smelt like piss and s**t.

He later apologised, saying he had no intention to hurt anyone, “so please accept my apology from the bottom of my heart”.

On the FatTruckSA website, Van Vuuren lists several sponsors and partners. But when these partners, including Chill Beverages, which manufactures Score Energy Drink, were contacted by City Press this week, all distanced themselves from him.

“We condemn and dissociate ourselves from Mr Van Vuuren and his opinions in the strongest terms possible. We do not condone his behaviour and most definitely do not share his sentiments about black people,” said Chill Beverages director Ross Hobbs, who said the company neither sponsored nor partnered with him.

“We did provide Mr Van Vuuren with three cases of promotional product for the launch of his business a few months ago. I’m led to believe he offered to place the logo of one of our brands on his website,” he said.

– Zinhle Mapumulo

Jeanine Ferreira (40)



“Good luck to you if you think you can march in here and take what is not yours” was what Ferreira wrote a few hours after Penny Sparrow’s racist Facebook post.

She states that for years the whites have paid for “your education, your food on your table when you grew up … gave jobs to your forefarthers [sic] and foremothers to feed that ugly face of yours…”

But Ferreira, whose CV was posted on Twitter, told City Press she was not speaking about all black South Africans.

“This post was in response to a black person who was being racist towards me. It wasn’t meant for everyone,” she said on Thursday.

She denied being racist even though her post states that if South African land really belongs to black people, “how come you don’t have papers to proove it [sic] ... You have a job because some white guy decided to keep your lazy ass there. So rather be thankful for what you have!”

She said she apologised on another website, but only after a public outcry. However, she remains adamant that white people are getting a raw deal and it isn’t only black people who have a past.

“When a black person makes a racist comment, that must expect a racist reaction,” she said.

– Athandiwe Saba

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