A little racist town in South Africa needs a wake up call

I wrote this story about racism in South Africa. It was published in the Cape Times daily newspaper this morning — it’s a regional newspaper in the Western Cape province of South Africa. This story was also published on the various websites of Independent Newspapers publishing company in South Africa.

The story is pasted below. To see how South Africans have responded online click the links below for a few hundred comments:

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/camp-site-for-whites-only-1.1208858?pageNumber=2

http://www.pretorianews.co.za/camp-site-for-whites-only-1.1208858

So many South Africans are committed to a country free from racism and discrimination. It is so disappointing when we discover that racism continues. For many, this is not the country that we want.

 

THIS IS THE PUBLISHED VERSION OF THE STORY:

Camp site ‘for whites only’

January 6 2012 at 10:22am

By Yazeed Kamaldien

Their dream of a week-long holiday was shattered when two best friends – one black, one white – were told they could not be together. 

The primary schoolboy were to camp together at Lepel Lê, a private beachfront camping site in East London.

But the black boy, 11, had to be left behind in Cape Town after his pal’s family were apparently informed that only whites were allowed.

Jaunelle Landman, the white boy’s mother, speaking from Lepel Lê, described it as “like apartheid from the past”.

Her mother had paid for a six-day trip for two adults, her 12-year-old son and his friend, Landman said.

Landman said she continued the holiday because it was already paid for.

“I only see my mom every second year for a week. It was her choice of spot. It’s the first and last time that I will go there. It’s like when only white people were in white areas. There are only white children here. It’s not cool,” she said.

Her uncle had advised her to phone Lepel Lê to confirm whether blacks were allowed.

“He had heard only whites were allowed. We phoned the owners who told us no other races were allowed to holiday there.

“They are only allowed to work there,” she said, adding that she was “shocked” when she had to tell the black boy’s mother he had to stay behind.

“I was in tears when I heard he couldn’t go,” she said.

The boy’s mother, Coressa Wells-De Almeida, said: “I wanted to lie to him and say that it was me who didn’t want him to go. But then I told him it was because of racism at that place. I would not be there to protect my son.”

Her boy was very disappointed, she said.

“He and his friend are like brothers. We had to explain to them why it was happening,” Wells-De Almeida said.

“We are black. I am a kroes-kop (curly-haired) coloured married to a black man. My husband is from Angola, and that also makes it worse for my children. Black people are racist towards us too,” she said.

A Lepel Lê co-owner, who refused to give her name, said: “This is a private resort. We are not open to everybody. If I advertised this place then it’s another matter.”

She said “only friends and family” were preferred at the resort. She would not say directly if people of colour could stay there. “I don’t have friends in other race groups,” she said when asked if this was the case.

She said she managed the resort on behalf of her family. She was “not aware” of the alleged racism. “It might be somebody wanted to bring a friend. Or maybe they didn’t want to bring the child to begin with,” she said.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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