Ire over racist slur

A woman who was called the K-word by a man in an Edgemead park says she has lodged a hate-speech complaint against him in the Equality Court.

A 15-second video clip surfaced on social media last week showing a white man confronting a black woman in a park.

He can clearly be heard using the racist slur while standing in front of her menacingly, as children look on.

Azola Mfolozi, the woman in the video, told Tabletalk she had been visiting her cousin, Dolly Stemela, in Edgemead, on Christmas Day when the incident happened.

According to Ms Mfolozi, her five-year-old nephew had been playing in the park.

He wanted to play with two white children, who had a ball, but they didn’t want to play with him and there was a squabble.

Sonwabo Gidane, another of Ms Mfolozi’s cousins, who was at the family gathering, had seen a white man marching up to the kids shouting and swearing.

Mr Gidane said he had been inside the house with his family, so he hadn’t seen the children arguing, but when he had gone outside to fetch a jacket, he had seen the man shouting at them.

“I asked him what happened, and he told me one of my nephews hit his child. I asked him why he didn’t just come to the house and speak to the grown-ups instead of swearing at the kids, and his response was to start shouting at me about the bad way we raise our kids.

“He was getting up close to my face as if to provoke me but I didn’t bite,” said Mr Gidane.

Ms Mfolozi then got involved, and there was a back-and-forth row between her and the man. The encounter was filmed by one of Ms Mfolozi’s family members.

“We all know how children are, they fight and so on. But for a grown man to come up to a bunch of kids and start swearing at them was really uncalled for,” Ms Mfolozi said.

In the video, the man approaches Ms Mfolozi threateningly and then looking her right in the eyes, says, “You’re a k****”.

Ms Stemela, who has lived in Edgemead for 22 years, said she had clashed with the man, who is one her neighbours, in the past.

“My family and I usually have gatherings for many reasons. When a family member died, we all came to my house for a family gathering, he had a problem with that. When my son came back from the bush, we held a big celebration ceremony for him, as is customary in our culture. Again he had big issue with that too. This time he went too far.”

Ms Stemela said Ms Mfolozi had laid a formal complaint at the Equality Court, at Goodwood Magistrate’s Court, on Friday January 12.

In the meantime, another video has appeared on YouTube in which the man is confronted at the entrance of his home by Ms Mfolozi, along with a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters and a police officer.

He identifies himself after being asked to do so by the police officer and apologises for his actions.

Tabletalk visited the man’s house but no one answered the door and other attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

Legal Aid South Africa lawyer Mangaliso Mazizi said victims of racist slurs could open a crimen injuria case at a police station, lodge an affidavit with the Equality Court or do both.

“The difference between the two is that one is a criminal case and the other one is more of a civil matter. In the crimen injuria case, the guilty party will get a criminal record and only if you are a repeat offender, are you likely to receive jail time,” he said.

According to Mr Mazizi, it is possible to pursue both avenues at the same time, and in both instances, it is most likely that a person will pay a fine.

The Equality Court can also order the accused to make a public apology.