Complaint regarding hate speech towards the Coloured community
To: South African Human Rights Commission 6 Jan 2021
From: Zelna Jansen
Zelna Jansen Consultancy
Re: Complaint regarding hate speech towards the Coloured community
I am the Chief Executive of Zelna Jansen Consultancy, an advocacy and lobbying firm. The aim of my firm is to bring people together to find solutions and help people to have a more effective conversation with their policy and law-makers and other political representatives.
I am also committed to and passionate about involving ordinary citizens in the policy and law-making process at Parliament, the nine provincial legislatures and municipal councils. I advocate for this right through writing opinion editorials that are published in various online and print media. I also have a YouTube channel and a robust Facebook Page. My website link is here:
The dispossession of the black inhabitants of their land was an apartheid era strategy that began with the colonisation of South Africa. Without land, the oppressed were stripped of economic power and self-determination. Forced removals and dispossession from land played an integral role in the harm caused by apartheid government. Land restitution and land reform plays an important role in the healing of our country. Freedom of expression which includes debates, dialogues, discussions, articles, opinion editorials, etc on this critical issue, plays an integral role in moving discussions forward that lead to healing from the past. However, just as it has the potential to build social cohesion, it also has the power to erode it.
On 3 January 2021, I was compiling research on the history of land and land expropriation in South Africa. I did this as part of my advocacy programme, which is to create awareness on legislative and policy proposals. The aim is to inform people how to participate towards shaping the outcomes of these proposals.
I came across a video by Troy 22 called, “South African Coloured’s are mixed European children, not Khoisan tribes, & have European surnames”. The video can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/-fSzf6BJZak.
On the outset, it seems that the aim of the video is to refute statements made by certain individuals claiming ancestral history to the Khoi and San communities.
However, as a person from the Coloured community, I find that the basis for refuting these claims becomes an attack on the Coloured community. The speaker refutes the claims through trying to illustrate that Coloured people are not native to South Africa. The speaker also uses a hateful tone and words and phrases filled with contempt towards Coloured people in explaining he’s distorted version of the history of Coloured persons. I view these statements as hate speech and I believe it advocates harm towards myself and persons of the Coloured community.
20 minutes into the video, the speaker talks about the strategy former and late Ugandan President, Iddi Amin employed to rid Uganda of Coloured people. He emphasises that the late President “kicked Coloured people out of Uganda”. The late President Iddi Amin, was known as the “Butcher of Uganda”. It is estimated that during his reign as President, he murdered about 500 000 Ugandan citizens. I believe the speaker deliberately uses this example, as a warning to Coloured people of what will happen if we don’t toe the line.
Other derogatory and disdainful phrases he uses to describe Coloured people are: “not native”; “children of Europeans”, “stupid and liars”, “Coloured people are against black people”, etc. This is exacerbated through an illustration of a coloured female’s facial features. The speaker analyses and compares this woman’s facial appearances to what the vlogger thinks a native African should look like. In doing this, he disrespectfully speaks of Coloured persons physical characteristics. He then concludes that because of her physical features, Coloured people cannot make any claim to the Khoi and San communities.
16:45 minutes into the video, he concludes that because of our physical looks and surnames, Coloured persons “don’t belong in Africa”.
19:03 minutes into the video, he states that “Coloured people are confused because they don’t really know where they’re coming from”.
3. Hate Speech
I submit that the above statements made by the speaker known as Troy 22 reasonably demonstrates to be:
(b) harmful and aimed at inciting harm; and
(c) promotes or propagates hatred towards persons of the Coloured community.
The statements made the speaker also are messages of hate propaganda aimed undermining the dignity and self-worth towards members of the Coloured community.
It further contributes to disharmonious relations among various racial, cultural and religious groups. In so doing, it results in eroding the tolerance and open-mindedness that the South African Constitution encourages to flourish in a multi-cultural society which is committed to the idea of equality.
The statements made by Troy 22 are not lawful nor does it in any way fall under the constitutionally protected speech of section 16 - freedom of expression of the Constitution. In fact, section 16 (2)(c) specifically excludes messages or statements of advocacy based on hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
I propose the following:
4.1 the speaker apologize to the Coloured Community;
4.2 the video, “South African Coloured’s are mixed European children, not Khoisan tribes, & have European surnames” remains on his YouTube Channel, however, that the speaker posts his official letter of apology with the video or on his YouTube Channel; and
4.3 the speaker pays a fine or makes a donation towards children’s education programmes relating to eradicating racism and hate speech.
Coloured people have suffered a long history of being racially excluded. We experienced severe racial discrimination during the apartheid era and suffered the brutality of two centuries of slavery. It is not right nor appropriate that when Coloured people claim their lost ancestral history to the Khoi and San, that it should be met with hatred and incitement to harm that is advocated by the speaker.
I therefore humbly request that the South African Human Rights Commission investigate my complaint.