Gumtree had recommended via e-mail on Monday that the Rigneys report the matter to the police.
Gumtree had recommended via e-mail on Monday that the Rigneys report the matter to the police.

Romance ruined by racial abuse

By Carlo Petersen Time of article published Feb 18, 2015

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Cape Town - Plans to celebrate their wedding anniversary with a romantic getaway to Langebaan turned into a racist ordeal for a Ravensmead couple.

Sheri-Lynn Rigney, 29, is still having sleepless nights after being called a “typical Saartjie Baartman hottentot”, before being subjected to other racial slurs.

Last week, Rigney enquired about a holiday house advertised on online classifieds site Gumtree.

Rigney and her husband Angus, 28, have been married for four years and planned to celebrate their wedding anniversary with a holiday to Langebaan on March 28.

Rigney sent the Cape Times a thread of e-mail correspondence between herself and a woman known only as “Jenny” on Tuesday.

“My husband and I were browsing Gumtree for holiday houses on Friday and we came across an advert which read: ‘Princess Beach Langebaan home away from home’.

“We sent an enquiry about the holiday house and a Jenny responded saying: ‘Welcome, we can assist’.

“There was only one photograph and when we asked for more pictures to be sent on Saturday, we received feedback on Sunday, which read: ‘We can still assist’.

“I again asked for more pictures along with booking information, banking details.

“Jenny responded, asking: ‘Do you respect a Sunday?’ ’’

Rigney said she responded: “Then don’t advertise if you don’t want business. I’ve asked the same d**n questions over and over since Friday!

“If you replied properly the first time I would not need to ask again. You have no people skills!”

To this Jenny replied: “And you have no religious respect. Typical Saartjie Baartman hottentot. Will not read your messages.

“Het jy nog voortande (do you still have front teeth?). Do you call yourself people (sic) or baboon?”

Rigney said the incident had left her devastated. “It’s just spoilt everything for us. I’m disgusted. You would think that 20 years after the fall of apartheid these things would have stopped happening. I haven’t been able to sleep since being told those things.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced racism like that. I’m very shocked and don’t know how to deal with this,” she said.

Angus then reported the matter to Gumtree, who assured him they had removed the advert from the website.

Gumtree recommended via e-mail that he report the matter to the police, Angus said on Tuesday. “Once they receive the case number, a trust and safety officer would assist police with information about the ad.

“The e-mails have left us rather concerned about the country and where we find ourselves 20 years into democracy. We see other issues of race attacks being reported in the media and we have to ask ourselves: how do we solve these things before someone gets killed?

‘We will report this to the proper authorities and follow it up. They must track this woman down and make sure she is brought to book.”

Attempts to reach Jenny and Gumtree for comment on Tuesday proved futile.

Sheri-Lynn said she would report the matter to police on Wednesday.

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Cape Times

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