What was proposed to be a nice quiet time for Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi after 8am Sunday morning turned to a nightmare when the social media user signed onto his Twitter account.
As he opened his Twitter account, Lesufi was bewildered to find in place of the usual news and pictures, some unprovoked racist abuse as he was called a k****r and a paedophile by “Summer Starstead”, an anonymous user operating under the handle @uncucklord.
A picture of Lesufi clad in jeans in case he had to jump a fence to get into a Johannesburg creche that allegedly separated white and black children during meals was used by the attacker as – @uncucklord said: “Here you have Gauteng MEC for education @lesufi ready to jump a fence to take pics of todlers (sic). F***ing K****r pedo!”
His immediate reaction to the racist rant was anger as he said it “was tough” seeing the post.
“I am hurt and disappointed. But for the sake of my commitment to the country’s future I have to be strong,” he said.
Showing restraint, Panyaza Lesufi politely responded to the post: “Don’t call me with a K-word, please.”
But, instead of calling a truce, the unknown attacker rained more abuses on Lesufi using more of the K-word, asking why he was not wearing “piss-soaked animal skins” as this was “traditional attire”.
In response, Lesufi refused to lose his cool:
“This one keeps calling me with the K-word. I’m not going to block him. He must just enjoy insulting me,” he responded.
The MEC later twitted his 27,200 followers: “Racists can insult me as they wish but my commitment to a nonracial, equal and quality education for all our children remains unshakable.
“Their children will study, dance and play with our children in one class and drink water from the same tap. If this hurts racists, hard luck!”
Lesufi had his parents to thank for the way he maintained his cool as he said they had taught him “to respect those who hate you, as it is through respect that you can change your enemy”.
He insisted that he would not take the bait and respond with an angry outburst which will satisfy his attackers but promised to use his work to silence them.