Cape Town - On Sunday, a video of a man wearing a swastika armband while eating his meal in a Wimpy restaurant in Bloemfontein quickly started trending on Twitter.
In two videos posted to social media, @kanyamofokeng posted a man with a swastika armband as he was eating his meal in Fleurdal Mall, while in the second video, she posted the clip of a swastika flag being flown on the outskirts of Bloemfontein.
The swastika became infamous as it was popularised by Adolf Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party, or more commonly called Nazi Party, leading up to World War II.
The swastika, usually clockwise, is a geometrical figure and an ancient religious icon in the cultures of Eurasia. It is used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality in Indian religions. It was used in many different cultures for at least 5 000 years. However, the symbol with its oblique arms turned clockwise became the national symbol for Nazi Germany due to Hitler.
This use of the swastika ended in World War II with the German surrender in May 1945, though the swastika is still favoured by many neo-Nazi groups today.
@kanyamofokeng said: "This was today at @wimpy_sa Fleurdal Mall in Bloemfontein. #Nazi #SwartzSticker"
"Also today, on the outskirts of Bloemfontein. Looked like a gathering of some sort as there was a fleet of cake."
Also today, on the outskirts of Bloemfontein. Looked like a gathering of some sort as there was a fleet of cake. pic.twitter.com/HJmsDL4ngb— Mamqoma (@kanyamofokeng) June 22, 2019
Many didn't react lightly to the clip, and shared how disgusted they were, even demanding that Wimpy give an explanation.
The fact the the Wimpy there allowed him tells all you need to know about the area. It needs to be dealt with.— I am Zindzi Mandela. She is me. I stan.✊🏾 (@UnmovedLee) June 23, 2019
1. WTF https://t.co/15WPZPLkfo— Mr D (@DarronDiesel) June 23, 2019
We are concerned because if the old South African flag was flown proudly in Germany, we would expect that there be some form of backlash. We are cognisant of our own tragedies, but it doesn't make us ignorant to other's painful past.— Mamqoma (@kanyamofokeng) June 23, 2019
Tell me again to move on. Tell me again white supremacy is just figment of my imagination. Tell me again Apartheid is over. Tell me again. https://t.co/8gyHXlTIxW— Jamil F. Khan (@JamilFarouk) June 23, 2019
This should never be allowed and must be criminalised in SA!!!— Dr Neo Nala 👶🏿🍼 (@neo_nala) June 23, 2019
Should we be outraged by the Swastika in a country that is not decided about the aprtheid flag - the symbol of evil and persecution which happened in the same country.— UDF Cabal (@onashsis) June 23, 2019
Wimpy responded to the incident saying: "We've been made aware of a video showing a customer depicting Nazi insignia - eating at one of our Bloemfontein Wimpy restaurants. We take matters of this nature this very seriously and are investigating this. It seems like the customer may have been participating in a World War II Operation Barbarossa commemoration event that took place this weekend in the area. We're confirming the nature of the event and are immediately investigating this matter."
It seems like the customer may have been participating in a World War II Operation Barbarossa commemoration event that took place this weekend in the area. We're confirming the nature of the event and are immediately investigating this matter.(2/2)— Wimpy South Africa (@wimpy_sa) June 23, 2019
The World War II Operation Barbarossa commemoration is an annual event that has taken place in Bloemfontein over recent years. Operation Barbarossa was a codename for the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which was launched on June 22, 1941.
The failure of German troops to defeat Soviet forces in the campaign signaled a crucial turning point in the war.
* More information can be found here.