Racism doesn't make sense‚ says attacked South African athlete

South African athlete Thabang Mosiako
South African athlete Thabang Mosiako
Image: Tobias Ginsberg

The South African 5‚000 metre athletics champion Thabang Mosiako‚ who was attacked by a group of white students in the North West‚ says racism does not make sense.

Mosiako‚ and another athlete‚ Rantso Mokopane‚ were assaulted in an apparent racial attack last week Sunday during a campus student fundraising RAG event for the University of North West‚ Potchefstroom campus.

“I can’t believe I have to represent them‚ and they did this to me. The hatred is so rife‚ it’s like there’s no tolerance. I don’t understand why we allow these things to happen‚ or why they even happen. It doesn’t make sense‚” he said on Monday.

Mosiako was meant to compete in an athletics event in Algeria in March‚ but now there are fears that his head injuries could prevent him from running.

While waiting for his medical results - which will tell the extent and long-term effects of his injuries - Mosiako told TimesLIVE that he prays he will be able to run again.

“I just want to run‚ that’s what I do‚ I run. I am stressed as I don’t know what the doctor will say. My results were supposed to come out today. I feel better physically though‚ I have been discharged‚” Mosiako said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has spoken against the “racial” attack.

“Mosiako tells a story of how they were targeted and attacked by a group of white men for intervening on behalf of a shopkeeper they were shouting at. These white men beat them up so much that the South African athlete can now no longer go to Algeria for the African champs in March due to head injuries‚” Mbuyiseni Ndlozi‚ EFF national spokesperson‚ said in a statement.

The EFF has called on the police to do a “thorough investigation and bring these men into justice” asked the community to help identify the attackers.

Police are still looking for the men – possibly students – who are responsible for the attack.

North West police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Adele Myburgh said a task team has been established to investigate the matter.

“No arrests have been made as we speak‚” she said.

A case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened.

Meanwhile‚ a campaign to raise funds for the athlete is under way - started by the daughter of veteran talkshow host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle‚ Lindiwe.

“I started this fund to support Thabang but also to show that coming together as a community‚ of all races‚ is the true power of love and change. I want to help him raise money for medical bills and any legal expenses if needed‚” she wrote on the fundraising site‚ BackaBuddy.

Nearly R7‚000 has been raised so far‚ with a target of R200‚000.

Amongst well-wishes from his donors‚ Simone Gregor posted this message: "Dear Thabang‚ thank you for your courage in sticking up for others! Praying for a speedy recovery‚ and that you may continue to shine" while Zoya Pon posted: "Let's get him the best legal representation in the country and make an example of these perpetrators‚ that South Africa will not stand for this!"

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