Black vs white racism media coverage in South Africa: report

Trade union Solidarity has released a new report analysing how occurrences of racism and discrimination against blacks and whites in South Africa are handled and covered by the media.

In essence, the report is a comparative study looking at how media and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) have dealt with recent high-profile cases where both black and white people have expressed racist and discriminatory views in the public.

According to Connie Mulder, head of Solidarity’s Research Institute (SRI), the analysis of the results repeatedly showed that there was an inconsistency and a “certain selectivity” as far as the extent was concerned of the media attention slurs made by black people received compared to those made by white people.

Beyond the public reaction and level of ‘severity’ attributed to the various remarks, Solidarity used the number of media reports as a metric to ascertain the unevenness in black vs white racism coverage in South Africa.

White case study

Case study What they said Media reports Year
Penny Sparrow “From now on I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same, pick and drop litter.” 4 501 2016
Chris Hart “More than 25 years after Apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities.” 1 155 2016
Mabel Jansen “In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them. Period. It is seen as an absolute right and a woman’s consent is not required.” 840 2016
Matthew Theunissen He called beachgoers “animals” and the “scum of the nation”. “Go back to where you came from and take your 13 kids with you!” 553 2016
Vicki Momberg Caught on camera racially abusing black Johannesburg police officers. She used the k-word repeatedly, and called the officers arrogant, useless and clueless and threatened to run them over. 419 2016
Justin van Vuuren “So no more sporting events for South Africa. I’ve never been more proud than to say our government is a bunch of K****s. Yes I said it so go f*** yourselves you black f****** c***.” 251 2016

Black case study

Case study What they said Media reports Year
Julius Malema “We are not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now … The rightful owners of the land are black people. No white person is a rightful owner of the land here in SA and the whole of the African continent.” 163 2016
Velaphi Khumalo “I want to clense this country of all white people. we must act as Hitler did to the Jews. I don’t believe any more that there is a large number of not so racist white people.” 136 2016
Luvuyo Menziwa “F*** white people. Just get me a bazooka or AK-47 so I can do the right thing and kill these demon-possessed humans.” 131 2016
Jacob Zuma “How can you say we told the Afrikaners to go? No, I said the problem began when Jan van Riebeeck came here.” 117 2015
Esethu Hasane “Only Western Cape still has dry dams. Please God‚ we have black people there‚
choose another way of punishing white people.”
40 2017
Tlou Molele “If it wasn’t for this generic error called mutation, the white f****s would have never existed. You are the original Mother f****s.” 16 2016
Lulu Xingwane “Young Afrikaner men are brought up in the Calvinist religion believing that they own a woman, they own a child, they own everything and therefore they can take that life because they own it.” 11 2013
Jonathan Jansen Maintained that white students in Afrikaans classes were given an unfair advantage and told Beeld newspaper that this is why Afrikaans should be abolished as a language of instruction. 10 2016
Steve Naale Captioned a photo of a lynching with “Unless we want this under a white man’s rule, AGAIN.” 7 2016
Vuyiswa Bhefile Ka Hlazo “I will with no mercy cut their (white people’s) tongue out with a machete and I will enjoy to hear them begging for forgiveness and watch them cross the boarders with their belongings. 3 2015
Benny Morota “I hate white people and must go back wherever they come from or alternatively to hell.” 2 2016

“According to our research, remarks by a person like Justin van Vuuren generated more media reports than Julius Malema’s ‘Slaughter all whites’ remark,” Mulder said.

“What is alarming is that the SAHRC is clearly not fulfilling its role. Clearly, the commission is not following the guidelines to contain hate speech as set down by the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

“Our research shows that the SAHRC takes steps against white lightweights but that they let the black heavyweights get away unscathed,” Mulder said.


Read: Whites earn 5 times more than blacks in South Africa: Stats SA

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Black vs white racism media coverage in South Africa: report