Cape Town - “It felt like I was not human or good enough.”
These were the words of 25-year-old Thabiso Danca, whose night out turned into an embarrassing nightmare when he was allegedly barred from entering Hank's Olde Irish pub because he was a black person and without a white escort.
Danca went to the pub in Bree Street last week, with intentions to enjoy a “First Thursday” night out when he allegedly became the victim of racism.
“I went to the pub with a friend. My friend, who is white, went inside first. I was still outside finishing off smoking.
"When I tried to enter, a bouncer stopped me at the entrance and questioned where I was going.
I told him I was going inside the venue and that is when he said no I cannot go inside if I’m not accompanied by a white person.
“This came as a shock to me and when I wanted to know what he meant by that, he further explained that people of colour steal and are troublesome.
"While I was still conversing with the bouncer about the issue, my friend came outside because he couldn’t find me.
While my friend was there with us I questioned the bouncer if this was his personal opinion about people of colour or if it was what he was instructed to do,” said Danca.
He said when his friend also asked why the 25-year-old was being prevented from entering the establishment, the bouncer allegedly reiterated that the owners told him not to allow black people inside because they steal and make trouble inside the pub.
“My friend said ‘well I’m with him and we’re friends’.
"Then I was allowed inside because I was being accompanied by a white person.
“I only stayed inside the place for five minutes or less, then left because it didn’t feel right to be there in a place I’m not wanted in.
"I was still in shock and felt humiliated because I was barred from entering the place in front of a crowd.
“I understand the bouncer is the employee and he was doing his duty according to the policy of the establishment.
“My concern is that many more people could experience this or have already but are scared to speak up ,” said Danca.
On Friday evening Danca’s friend Christopher Logan, his brother, and other friends including the one who was with him on Thursday went to the establishment.
A confrontation between the patrons and the owners turned into a fist fight that went viral after cell phone video footage was shared on social media.
According to Logan the owners were allegedly using “Right of Admission Reserved” to hide racism and were also using the bouncer as a scapegoat.
Trigger warning: This video contains strong language
“I first called before we went there and one of the owners basically told me that they essentially can decide whoever they want to let in and I challenged the point, saying they could not make the decision based on race, according to South Africa’s laws.
“When we were at the pub one owner arrived and later the second one also arrived and became very aggressive.
“We were physically removed by the bouncers and attacked. We have handed the CCTV to police,” said Logan.
The owners have since refuted the claims,saying that over the past 30 years of operating businesses, they had never instructed their staff to discriminate, whether on the basis of gender, sexual orientation or race.
We want to place on record that we are extremely concerned for the well-being and safety of the staff involved, therefore we will not be commenting any further while we conduct an internal disciplinary process about these allegations and the police conduct their criminal investigation into the case of assault opened against the individuals making accusations in the video,” they said.
Police spokesperson Ndakhe Gwala confirmed that the owners opened a case of assault against Danca’s friends, which includes Logan, while Logan filed a counter complaint.
“This office confirms that two assault cases were registered at the Cape Town Central police station this weekend after an altercation at a pub in Cape Town.The police are investigating, no arrest has been made yet,” said Gwala.