Student activist Ntokozo Qwabe who made headlines for making a Cape town restaurant waitress shed ‘white tears’, has returned to give what he calls his ‘final say’ on the incident after being greeted with a host of death threats from those offended by his racial act.
In his new piece titled ‘The final word on #TipGate and the bullied white waitress’ posted on the Daily Vox, Ntokozo Qwabe said his alleged hate speech has drawn to him lots of enemies much of who would want to see him dead at any point.
He added that he has been called a ‘racist’, ‘criminal’, a ‘bully’, a ‘dick’, among other demeaning names since the incident.
The student activist also said that he had been summoned by the Senior Dean of his college to discuss his safety as he might be appearing before the South African Human Rights Commission after he was reported for ‘hate speech.
“following a flow of death threats and safety hazards directed at violating my bodily integrity. These death threats have intensified after Oxford rejected a petition signed by thousands to have me expelled from the university, and a plethora of expulsion requests lodged with the university Proctors.”
Last month, Qwabe wrote of his happiness at making a waitress shed ‘white tears’ when his friend refused to tip until she ‘returned the land’.
Schultz was reportedly reduced to tears after Qwabe’s group of friends wrote on the bill: “We will give tip when you return land.”
Since then, a crowdfunder has been set up to raise money to compensate the waitress for the incident even as Qwabe, who at that time was a key figure in Oxford’s Rhodes Must Fall movement, continued to make comments that suggest he feels a little remorse over his speech.
Meanwhile, as the incidence continued to go viral, Ntokozo Qwabe returned to condemn how the the media twisted the story. “The media reporting has been riddled with factual inaccuracies, distortions and blatant lies,” he said.
With Ntokozo Qwabe being unable to use his main Facebook account now as it has been permanently disabled, he has issued a lengthy statement saying that the whole incidence has thought him a huge lesson – that a black man does not have ‘freedom of speech
The act was not “rude”, “spiteful” or a moment of being “a dick” as many have suggested. As activists involved in the student movement, we are not interested in the politics of dickism. We are not dickists. Far from being a reactionary moment of spite, the political act was an outcome of lengthy political discussion the trans black activist and I had been having about what it means to exist in a trans black body in a South Afrikan context where black people are a landless, dispossessed and impoverished mass. As was generously explained to Ashleigh and her colleagues, the note was not about her but about disrupting whiteness in a Cape Town restaurant space that remains largely inaccessible to black people, in a city where filthy white wealth exists alongside depressing black poverty. As I made it explicit in the post that birthed this whole scandal, the act was unambiguously about tabling the issue of land and wealth (which still lie in the hands of a white minority) in that white space – seeing that South Afrika had been celebrating “Freedom Day” just the day before.
“The suggestion that this was a moment of spite directed at “bullying” Ashleigh is as nonsensical as the suggestion that she cried. It would seem that many missed or deliberately ignored the figurative use of the words “crying” and “white tears” to denote the white fragility and discomfort displayed by Ashleigh and her colleagues in response to the political act. It should have been obvious from the post that I used these words figuratively and not literally from my indication that other white people in the restaurant “also annoyed us with their white tears”. Did people really think all these other people in that restaurant were literally crying? Wow! As a matter of fact, Ashleigh did NOT cry.”
However, Ntokozo Qwabe reiterated not being a racist in any way as some of his best friends are white. He added that one of the ways in which racism entrenches itself in modern society is in the erroneous belief in the myth of black racism against white people – sometimes called ‘reverse racism.
“Even here at Oxford, I cringe when attempts are made to batch us all into the “excessively privileged” category – ignoring our variant race, class and other positionalities. But then I remember that this is exactly how whiteness repeatedly violates us. It renders our pain invisible by taking us from the dungeons it has created for us, clothing us in fancy suits, admitting us to its institutions, and hiding that underneath all that, we have nothing.
Qwabe returned to the topic of how ‘whiteness repeatedly violates us’ by saying that blacks are supposed to be “good blacks”; It is exactly this facade that all blacks are challenging and that his censorship following the incident has been alarming.