Washington - DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal, has been involved in a racial incident at the University of Arkansas where she is a Washington Fellow under the Young African Leaders Initiative.
She is staying in a fraternity house.
“At 3am (Sunday) we were awakened by loud banging and shouting,” she said. “There was a young white man shouting racial slurs. He wanted to be let into the house.”
A fraternity tradition is that any former resident of the house could come back and sleep there any time.
“When one of the fellows said we were here for the summer as visitors, the man shouted that he didn’t pay fees so that n*****s could stay in his house,” said Ntuli.
Before he left, the man broke a window and yelled, “Remember you’re just n*****s and this is the south.”
No action has yet been taken against him, although the university was said to be appalled at the incident and would be a meeting on Monday.
“Reactions have been varied; some were very afraid last night and feel they need protection, others viewed it as an isolated and unfortunate incident.
“Personally, coming from South Africa, I am no stranger to racism. However, it is the first time I have felt threatened and so it leaves me with slight unease.
“I have been here five weeks with no incidents, so I do believe it was an isolated thing,” said Ntuli.
“It’s a shame, because some locals have been wonderful, making an extra effort because of the historical racial tension in the town.”
Ntuli was to return home next week but has been selected to stay longer and will attend the African Heads of State Summit next month. She has also been asked to attend a World Bank Youth forum meeting, so will return on August 7.