'We're not racist' - models
Two young women who went to war with racist tweets last week were all innocence today
“We don’t have problems with each other, we don’t have problems with any race,” 22-year-old marketing student Tshidi Thamana said in Johannesburg after she met model Jessica Leandra dos Santos.
Democratic Alliance national spokesman Mmusi Maimane arranged a meeting with the two women at his home in Roodepoort.
The pair shook hands and posed for pictures.
“We just happened to be individuals that got very upset and very carried away in a tweet on social media and I think we are owning up to it today,” Thamana said.
Dos Santos, who started the spat with a racist tweet, said: “I didn’t realise the impact my tweet would have had on the people [it] offended. We do aim to reconcile and get the nation back to where it was”.
Maimane said: “Its been a journey for both Jess and for Tshidi...
“I felt we needed to give each of these girls an opportunity to communicate to each other and certainly to communicate to you out there”.
Maimane said he would write a letter to the Human Rights Commission containing evidence about the matter. Several people submitted complaints about the two women to the commission.
Dos Santos said further: “I am aware of the issues I caused for our nation, I am aware of the severity of the word I used.
“I do extend my sincere apologies for the incidents I caused.”
Thamana said: “I don’t wish death on anyone of any race... I just want to say to Jessica, I am really sorry abut wishing death on you and for everything that I’ve said”.
She added: “To South Africa as a whole, my apologies. I really didn’t mean any harm and if we have to do something to put the country where it was, we will do it”.
Ironically, the spat has raised Dos Santos's profile: When she started the spat with her racist tweet, she had 2,591 followers; now she has 7,263 followers.
During their function at the DA official's house, Dos Santos turned to Thamana and said: “Tshidi, I do apologise if the word I used offended you. It wasn’t intended to cover the entire black race, but rather at a certain individual that offended me in public”.
Thamana said: “We are here to apologise, not to pull a publicity stunt. In both our individual lives we don’t practise any racism”.
The women, who had not met until Thursday, said they could be friends, were not racists, and had not used such language in their tweets before.
“I can quite easily say that I’ve never used that word. It boiled [up] from a stress frustration and as I’ve learned, it’s an incorrect and unfortunate word that I’ve used. Today I’ve learned the severity behind it,” said Dos Santos.
Thamana chirped in: “That tweet was tweeted out of anger and when I was doing it, it felt right but it was wrong”.
When asked about previous tweets in her timeline referring to "African monkeys", Dos Santos replied: “I refer to myself as a monkey, my family as monkeys. I think what was written in my Tweets as 'African monkey' was taken out of context”.
The SA Human Rights Commission said on its website that racist and discriminatory speech on social media could undermine social relations.
“Ms dos Santos’ alleged remarks contribute to a disturbing pattern that seems to be taking place in the social media space, and has to be addressed.
“The commission is in the process of assessing all the complaints it has received and will afterwards communicate directly with all the parties.”
Maimane said he would write a letter to the commission containing evidence about the matter. Several people had submitted complaints about the two women to the commission.
- Meanwhile, an employee at security company Bidvest Magnum faces disciplinary action for posting alleged hate speech on Twitter.
“I’m very distressed about the comment and we shall institute an internal inquiry,” managing director David Crichton said.
Itumeleng Mabeba is accused of tweeting messages advocating violence against Jessica Leandra dos Santos [which Sowetan will not repeat here].