Premier Helen Zille and musician Simphiwe Dana are at it again. Their Twitter battle over an allegation that Cape Town is a racist city resumed when Lindiwe Suttle, daughter of one-time talk show host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, tweeted:
“No matter how famous/rich u r, ur still a 2nd class citizen if ur Black in Cape Town, @helenzille when’s the change u spoke about happening.”
Zille dismissed Suttle’s comments as “complete nonsense”.
As Zille asked for concrete proof of incidents of racism, many black Twitter users gave examples of places where they were repeatedly refused entry. Cape Town photographer Max Mogale listed the oft-bemoaned Asoka on Kloof Street and Jade Lounge in Green Point.
Soon the debate extended to black tweeters and the twitteratti countrywide.
Dana entered the fray with: “@helenzille has managed to p**s off black twitter. She can’t blame me for this one.”
When @mandlakada tweeted about bumping into Dana at the Waterfront, the gloves came off, with Zille responding: “Sorry? I thought she (Dana) left Cape Town claiming it is ‘racist’.”
Dana then asked if Zille disputed that Cape Town was a racist city, to which Zille replied that she disputed “blanket generalisations”.
Unsolicited, Zille then tweeted Dana: “You’re a highly respected black professional. Don’t try to be a professional black. It demeans you.”
Dana hit back: “So @helenzille is gonna teach me how to be an acceptable black. I’m ever so, so grateful.”
Zille’s use of the term “professional black”, which she said was informed by a column written by Business Day columnist Jacob Dlamini, sparked criticism and, in some instances, anger from people like poet Lebo Mashile and columnists Ndumiso Ngcobo and Khaya Dlanga.
Mashile tweeted: “Thank you @helenzille for consistently coming up with innovative ways to alienate black people. Sincerely, professional black.” Mogale said: “A professional black? Sounds like a nice way of saying n****r or k***** to me.”
@LTqha said: “Only Helen Zille can get away with demeaning blacks and still get the black votes. Good 4u Baas!”
TV presenter and model agency boss Janez Vermeiren tweeted: “#CapeTownisracist, what a load of b**l s**t we live in 1 of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world! Whoever claims this ‘d**s a favor’.”