JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Hundreds of South Africans marched against racism following a number of incidents that have highlighted racist attitudes in a society that emerged from 46 years of apartheid in 1994.
The most high profile incident concerned Penny Sparrow, an estate agency in KwaZulu-Natal province who sparked debate over racism when she made racist comments on social media about black people using Durban’s beach on New Year’s Day.
The African National Congress (ANC) has since laid criminal charges against her.
“We marched to send out a clear message to racist individuals to stop this behavior,” ANC Youth League Provincial Secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo told Anadolu Agency at Monday’s march in Scottburgh, a resort town to the south of Durban where Sparrow lives.
Sparrow’s comments are among several recent incidents highlighting racism in South Africa.
Earlier this month, Durban businessman Justin Van Vuuren described blacks as animals in a Facebook post while on Saturday Nicole de Klerk shocked racecourse goers in Cape Town by hurling racist abuse at black racing fans.
Last week, a black government employee, Velaphi Khumalo, was suspended after posting that black South Africans should do what “Hitler did to the Jews” and cleanse the country of white people.
Vasu Gounden, the executive director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, said such incidents were isolated. “The majority of South Africans are not racists,” he said.
He told Anadolu Agency the march “highlighted that 21 years after democracy we shall not tolerate racism in this country”.
Speaking to SABC, he added: “South Africans of all race groups have accepted the new dispensation and found a comfortable way to live with each other. We should not exaggerate the fact that the few people who still harbor racism and were able to spread that over social media.”
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