One striking thing people fail to understand is that South Africa just got her democracy in 1994, only 22 years ago. The scars left by apartheid to blacks and whites are fairly fresh.
So putting up racists comments on social media really does offend people and fast-pedals hate among the races.
And this is the more reason why AmandlaAwethu.mobi – a social justice campaign website – has moved to block crowdfunding organizations canvassing for funds for Penny Sparrows after she was fined R 15,000 over racist comments.
Also, many social media users branded the fundraising initiative as disgusting, despicable and racist.
The real estate agent caused a racial storm earlier this year when she compared black beach goers to monkeys in a Facebook post. She was later convicted and sentenced in absentia last Friday by the Equality Court in KwaZulu-Natal .
She was ordered to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation at an Equality Court hearing in Scottburgh on Friday.
However, Sparrow is yet at the centre of another storm, having incurred lots of criticism by many social media users, who slammed the idea of launching two fund-raising campaigns to help her pay off her fine.
Two pages were opened on YouCaring, a “compassionate crowd-funding” website by two South Africans.
One of the pages, the “Help Penny Sparrow” page spearheaded by a Helgard Muller had been shared on social media 130 times. It had also raised two donations, totalling $125, toward its $10 000 (R152 300) goal.
On the other hand, the “Lets HELP Penny Sparrow pay her fine!” page spearheaded by a Nathalie Moolman aims to raise $9 200 (R140 100) is yet to receive any donations, but had garnered 23 social media shares – which could each raise $37 (R563). The page is also yet have registered supporters.
So far, as of Monday morning, the crowd-funding web page had raised $125 (about R1 900).
Speaking further on why she decided to launch the initiative, Moolman explained that she started the initative so that Sparrow won’t be imprisoned.
“Truth be told, a fair amount of South Africans are racists, but they just keep it to themselves, they don’t post it on social media platforms, like Penny did,” she said.
Meanwhile, AmandlaAwethu.mobi is still kicking strong against the crowd-funding pages. Speaking via a petition written, Campaigner, Nqaba Mpofu said, such move will only end up encouraging other racists to get away with racism.
“We, the undersigned, ask that you close down any crowd-funding campaigns started by fellow racists in an attempt to raise money for her. By allowing such a campaign, you will effectively be endorsing racism,” the petition reads.
AmandlaAwethu.mobi, which has received 38 of 100 signatures for a petition to get crowdfunding organisations to ban pages dedicated to raising funds for Sparrow also believes a fine with no criminal record is a mere a slap on the wrist.
Sparrow was roped to court by the African National Congress (ANC) after she likened black people littering on Durban beaches to monkeys.
Throughout the duration of her trial, she did not show up in court because she couldn’t find any legal representative and due to ill-health. Instead, her daughter, Charmaine Cowrie, stood before magistrate Irfaan Khallil, praying for postponement.