Social Media And The Reawakening Of Racism In South Africa


The freedom of speech on the social media has led to an outburst of racist comments which has caused a total reawakening of racism in South Africa.

In her post on Facebook, Kwazulu-Natal real estate agent Penny Sparrow likened black beachgoers to monkeys. Here are some of the posts on social media that scream racism!

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Sparrow wrote: “These monkeys that are allowed to be released on new year’s eve and new year’s day on to the public beaches, towns etc obviously have no education what so ever, so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others”

Hart tweeted: “more than 25 years after apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities…”

Van Vuuren added he was out for the promenade in Durban to be made private as “these animals with 13 kids” dirtied it and further said it should not be enjoyed by the “scum of the nation”

On June 18, 2015, a woman named Kelly-Ann Wade posted a picture of Zuma on her social media platform with the caption “Apes even have more intelligence than him”

The same woman on December 22; 2015 posted another picture of both Zuma and a gorilla side by side with the caption “Identical twins”. This came a week after the KwaZulu-Nata realtor Penny Sparrow Described black beach-goers as monkeys.


Meanwhile, Gareth Cliff who was a judge at the SA Idols commented on Facebook and said “people really don’t understand free speech at all” This was pointing at the reactions of the masses towards Sparrows’ post on Facebook. This raised a lot of dust and M-Net removed him from the panel of judges on SA Idols.

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There was an outburst of angry reactions from the public over these outrageous comments but the issue has been taken up by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The spokesperson of the commission Isaac Mangena said the investigation which would also involve Justin Van Vuuren’s comments calling some people “scum of the earth” could lead to further interrogation and legal actions. He further stated that formal complaints about the issue could be taken to the Kwazulu-Natal provincial office of the commission.

“It is very concerning to the commission that 22 years into democracy, there are still comments and actions that incite and promote racism. These utterances have gone viral and angered many. They opened the wounds of millions who were formerly oppressed by the apartheid government” He said.

He pointed out that the comments did not represent the views of the majority of south Africans and advised those who were angered by the comments to lodge a formal complaint with the commission instead of taking the laws into their hands.