Is Cape Town more racist than other parts of SA? Our users respond


Yesterday we covered a story about the viral Facebook post detailing an alleged incident of racial profiling at a Cape Town club called The Loft, where the owner of the club allegedly asked a harmless woman of colour to leave.

Read more: Incident at Cape Town club raises questions about what "right of admission" really means

The incident drew our attention to the fact that racial prejudice and classism in South Africa are still major thorns in the side of people of colour.

Possibly more so for people of colour living in Cape Town, which is why we asked our readers whether this was more a Cape Town issue or a problem affecting the whole country.

Our users came forward with a few personal anecdotes you may relate to.

But overall the responses were mixed with some of our users suggesting that South Africa as a whole has still not yet recovered from its apartheid hangover, while others were of the opinion that Cape Town in particular is still drinking heavily from apartheid's cup. 

Here's what they said:

Yep, definitely a Cape Town thing (or just an Asoka thing?)

Classism is particularly a Cape Town thing and so is racism actually. Most of us privileged southern suburb types don't realise that classism is racism. It is prevalent in most English and Afrikaans communities countrywide, but more so in colonial Cape Town - Mike 

Living in Cape Town, and having lived in Gauteng I can confidently say this is a Cape Town thing - Ardilah

It is rife in Cape Town. I had a similar experience at a News Cafe in Bloubergstrand where I was blatantly told "Sir, we don't serve your kind" - Sibusiso

Cape Town is racist to its core. As a student who studied there for six years I did not experience racism, as entry was never an issue because I had many white friends and colleagues. However, once I graduated and could afford to go to Asoka for instance, entry was denied on the basis that there was a private function happening there, but entry was given freely to white people. My brother had to make a booking under the name Timothy in order to secure a booking at Asoka for his birthday celebration. Something has got to give in Cape Town - Rufaro 

It's prevalent in Cape Town. My view is that black South Africans need to be more assertive when dealing with such cases. Myself and three friends were once denied a table at Asoka and told to stand at the bar as it's fully booked, which we obliged, but after an hour there were still four tables open. Our waiter later informed us that there was no booking and that the bouncer was reprimanded for letting us in - Gary

I think club owners have taken this very vague condition of accepting patrons into an establishment too far over the line. This is being used as a legal discrimination tool to discriminate against people of colour.

No, open your eyes. This is happening everywhere

I think it's a national problem and that it only gets a lot of media attention if such incidents happen at your so-called upmarket dinning places, hotels and night clubs. The Northern Cape is where racism is brewed. I can bet you whatever little money I have that you won't enter and exit Speedball (a night club in Kathu) without experiencing real racism – Kgomotso

Of course it isn't a Cape Town thing. There are nasty people all over the world and one should just not support establishments run by unkind, intolerant types. They are seriously uncool. It would be interesting to know where the racist restaurant or club owners come from. Quite possibly not Cape Town and possibly not South Africa - Mary

Its definitely a national problem - Christo

Of course it is not a 'Cape Town thing'. And it is maddeningly disgusting - Pieter

Read more: White privilege is real, especially in the workplace

Uhm... okay

Sorry but I have been denied access to many clubs mostly with no reason proffered. Doormen are required to exercise judgement (profiling) in order to maintain decorum within the venue. There are people who go looking for nonsense and those that will just attract it; both are generally excluded - Lindsay

Disbelief and disillusionment

I hope these are just a few isolated incidents. Nevertheless, I can't believe that it’s happening. It's so 1980's, especially in a world-class city like Cape Town - a melting pot for liberalism and new age diversity, which should include non-racism. More especially from renowned establishments that set a precedence and benchmark of social attainment.

They should be heavily fined! And be made an example of. I love that the community in Cape Town decided to boycott the nightclub. I like to believe there are more non-racists than one might think. I don't see it in Joburg. It's never overt - Marcelle

And lastly, a thought to ponder

Great article and I’m pleased that more and more people are coming forward and speaking out on this sort of discrimination. Whether this type of thing happens nationally, I can`t really say, because I personally have never experienced it anywhere else because I’ve never been outside of Cape Town`s club scene.

On the point of “right of admission reserved”, I always believed that this could mean many things, including dress code, as I have been refused entry before into an establishment because I wasn’t dressed “right”. This does to some extent seem rational because one would not enter an upmarket five-star restaurant wearing board shorts and slip-ons to have a sit down dinner.

On the other hand, I think club owners have taken this very vague condition of accepting patrons into an establishment too far over the line. This is being used as a legal discrimination tool to discriminate against people of colour. I for one am very careful of where I set my foot, mainly to avoid a “sticky” situation.

But I agree with the author that this sort of thing should not happen in this day and age in the so called new South Africa. I also encourage people that have experienced similar discrimination to name and shame the owners of such establishments. After all money is money no matter who has it - John

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on W24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of W24.

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