Not this again. Hout Bay resident Vanessa Hartley sparked outrage this weekend when she posted an extremely racist status on her Facebook page. It’s like people don’t realise the stuff they put on the internet for all to see is on the internet for all to see. In her ill-advised post, Hartley complained that too many ‘Africans’ were flocking to Hout Bay. Did people not learn from Penny Sparrow?
Hartley took her hideous message a step further, by remarking that Africans are ‘like stupid animals’ and ‘We should tie them to a rope.’ Although her post was quickly removed, it was reshared by other users who had taken screengrabs.
Hartley reportedly went on the defensive, saying that she didn’t know referring to Africans was racist. She then did an about turn, allegedly claiming that her Facebook account was hacked when she was out partying. Vanessa… Vanessa. Are you freaking kidding me?
Following the backlash, the African National Congress and the Hout Bay Civic Association say they will on Monday lay charges against Hartley. ‘We strongly condemn the racist comments made by Vanessa Hartley on Facebook. Hout Bay belongs to all who live in it!’ the civic association said.
People immediately noticed the similarities between Hartley’s comments and those made by KwaZulu-Natal estate agent Penny Sparrow at the beginning of the year. Sparrow’s post referred to black people on beaches as ‘monkeys’. Sparrow was convicted of the criminal charge of crimen injuria‚ for which she was fined R5 000‚ while the Equality Court ordered her to pay R150 000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Trust.
It’s extremely sickening that we’ve been forced to start and end 2016 with a disgustingly racist social media rant. People don’t seem to understand the difference between ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘hate speech’.
I’d like to implore every single person in South Africa: Grow up, educate yourself, leave your racist, archaic ideologies at the front door and let’s all just try to be decent human beings. There’s so much hate in the world – it’s the least we can do.
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