Lerato Kganyago, Simphiwe Dana and other local celebrities are up in arms against UK marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe for her derogatory comments against Caster Semenya.
In an interview over the weekend, Paula suggested that the 800-meter event at the Rio Olympics will be devalued if Caster wins gold.
“When we talk about it in terms of fully expecting no other result than Caster Semenya to win that 800m‚ then it’s no longer sport and it’s no longer an open race. There is an issue that needs to be understood a lot better‚” she said.
Paula also commented on Caster’s level of testosterone and her subsequent clearance by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Paula suggested that Semenya’s clearance could spark a recruitment drive from some countries where women have higher levels of testosterone.
Her agitation was mainly based on the fact that Semenya Caster must not be valued more than other athletes.
However, Paula’s comments prompted an online petition urging her sponsors and the British Athletics Federation to demand for a public apology from the athlete for her comments.
Entitled #STOP THE BULLYING OF CASTER SEMENYA#‚ the petition went on to state that “what Radcliffe has put Semenya through is what Serena Williams has had to face as a black woman in sport.”
While the running community deliberated on these comments, South Africans‚ including local celebrities such as Lerato Kganyago and Simphiwe Dana condemned them.
In an open letter to Caster on her Instagram page, Lerato claimed that “black women in sport are always put through the most.”
“Dear Black Child! They see your greatness! They fear your greatness! Hands off Mokgadi! Hands off Greatness! Hands off Caster! Mopedi wa gesho! Catch her if you can!!! We behind you!!! Our Champion! Phantsi Ngo PaulaRadCliffe Phantsi!” she wrote.
Xhosa Singer Simphiwe Dana also added her remarkable voice to the debate, calling on all South Africans to stand with Caster.