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Put in 'jail' to boost fight against racism

By unknown | Jun 01, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku


DURBAN businesspeople and celebrity DJs were "jailed" yesterday and spent hours behind bars to support an initiative to raise awareness against racism.

They were locked up in a mobile cell that contained only a narrow bed, chair and cellphone to call their friends to bail them out at the event held at the KwaMashu shopping centre yesterday.

Young businessman Ndumiso Mtolo was among the people who sacrificed their time and sat behind bars handcuffed for hours.

He was later released on R300 bail.

The bail money received during the campaign will be donated to charity, while a portion of it will be used to run the campaign.

Junior Mkhize of the Kick Racism campaign - a non-profit organisation - said they had received a great response from celebrities in the Durban area and members of the public.

He said during the event members of the public completed questionnaires about their experiences of racism.

"The stories that people tell are shocking. We have found that most people who visited the stands complained especially about racism at the workplace," Mkhize said.

Sowetan spoke to Kwenza Zungu of F section in KwaMashu, who works for an armed response company in Durban.

He said racism was a way of life in his company.

"Employees of other races receive more manpower for back-up, while the black guys are sent out to the scene without enough back-up.

"Sometimes I am forced to be at the scene alone, putting my life at risk," Zungu said.

A woman, who works as a waitress at an Italian restaurant in the Durban city centre, said black employees were unfairly dismissed, while employees of other races had the upper hand and could do as they pleased.

The woman, who declined to be named, said black employees had tried to join labour unions but without success.

She said the employer bribed unions against representing the workers.

"I don't know where to go to report this," she said.

Mkhize said that as part of the campaign educational material about racism was distributed with contact information on whom people could phone for advice and to make donations.

The campaign will move to Johannesburg and Cape Town in the next few months.


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