WATCH: SA Artist speaks out on viral Airbnb ‘racial’ assault (warning: profanity)

Zanele Muholi

Cape Town - South African visual artist Sibahle Steve Nkumbi, who was a victim of an assault by an Airbnb host who was threw her down a staircase was told, “This is not Africa.” 

Nkumbi was involved in the incident that has gone viral and resulted in the host's arrest, after visiting the Netherlands to review a friend's exhibition in Amsterdam.

Nkumbi says she came to Amsterdam to work on an exhibit at the Amsterdam Stedelijk, where the work of artist Zanele Muholi was being showcased. 

WATCH: 'Late check-out' SA traveller shoved down stairs by Airbnb host

She explains in the video interview posted to YouTube that she was scheduled to check out of the apartment at 11 am but was still there after 12pm. 

At this time, the landlord arrived at the property, which ultimately resulted in Nkumbi being thrown down the stairs. 

Nkumbi believes that the host was verbally aggressive and that the attack was racially motivated.

Nkumbi states “No one was arguing with the landlord” but instead was trying to reason with him. She describes him as very emotional, as he kept saying "you people" and even stated, "This is not Africa, you people are not the queens you think you are." 

She says in the video, "I come from South Africa where racism is so f*cked-up and you would expect that in SA because racism is visible, you come here and get attacked. I didn't expect it at all. I am actually quite disappointed."  

Watch Nkumbi’s first-hand account of what happened following the video footage of the incident. 

The suspect has been charged and arrested for attempted murder. Nkumbi says she hopes the host will be made to account for his actions and held liable to pay for what he did. 

While questions have been raised as to whether Airbnb is liable, its policies state it is a platform for advertising homes, nothing more. 

In response to the incident, David King, Airbnb's Director of Diversity & Belonging says, "Appalling and unconscionable behaviour against members of our community runs counter to everything Airbnb stands for.

"Our CEO Brian Chesky and I are reaching out to the affected guests.

"We will take the strongest actions we can against such abhorrent conduct, including banning people for life from our platform and assisting law enforcement with their investigation and potential prosecution. Nobody should ever be treated like this and it will not be tolerated."

Here’ what travellers need to know about Airbnb’s terms and conditions:

  • It is merely an online market place 

"1.1 The Airbnb Platform is an online marketplace that enables registered users (“Members”) and certain third parties who offer services (Members and third parties who offer services are “Hosts” and the services they offer are “Host Services”) to publish such Host Services on the Airbnb Platform (“Listings”) and to communicate and transact directly with Members that are seeking to book such Host Services (Members using Host Services are “Guests”). Host Services may include the offering of vacation or other properties for use ("Accommodations"), single or multi-day activities in various categories (“Experiences”), access to unique events and locations (“Events”), and a variety of other travel and non-travel related services." 

  • It says hosts alone are responsible for their listings and host services

"1.2 As the provider of the Airbnb Platform, Airbnb does not own, create, sell, resell, provide, control, manage, offer, deliver, or supply any Listings or Host Services. Hosts alone are responsible for their Listings and Host Services. When Members make or accept a booking, they are entering into a contract directly with each other. Airbnb is not and does not become a party to or other participant in any contractual relationship between Members, nor is Airbnb a real estate broker or insurer. Airbnb is not acting as an agent in any capacity for any Member." 

  • Airbnb will help facilitate the resolution of disputes but has no control over it

"1.3 While we may help facilitate the resolution of disputes, Airbnb has no control over and does not guarantee (i) the existence, quality, safety, suitability, or legality of any Listings or Host Services, (ii) the truth or accuracy of any Listing descriptions, Ratings, Reviews, or other Member Content (as defined below), or (iii) the performance or conduct of any Member or third party. Airbnb does not endorse any Member, Listing or Host Services. Any references to a Member being "verified" (or similar language) only indicate that the Member has completed a relevant verification or identification process and nothing else. Any such description is not an endorsement, certification or guarantee by Airbnb about any Member, including of the Member's identity or background or whether the Member is trustworthy, safe or suitable. You should always exercise due diligence and care when deciding whether to stay in an Accommodation, participate in an Experience or Event or use other Host Services, accept a booking request from a Guest, or communicate and interact with other Members, whether online or in person. Verified Images (as defined below) are intended only to indicate a photographic representation of a Listing at the time the photograph was taken, and are therefore not an endorsement by Airbnb of any Host or Listing."

  • Hosts are independent third-party contractors

"1.4 If you choose to use the Airbnb Platform as a Host or Co-Host (as defined below), your relationship with Airbnb is limited to being an independent, third-party contractor, and not an employee, agent, joint venturer or partner of Airbnb for any reason, and you act exclusively on your own behalf and for your own benefit, and not on behalf, or for the benefit, of Airbnb." 

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