Steve Hofmeyr

Each Tweet may only be 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you. You can get into whole lot of trouble on Twitter...

Here’s IOL’s pick:


1. Steve Hofmeyr on Sharpeville: This week the singer came under fire for mocking the Sharpeville massacre on Twitter. He tweeted: “The death of Biko was a human rights violation. Sharpeville was not.”

Later Hofmeyr came back to add: “Human Rights Day is no longer about celebrating human rights; it's about black nationalist pride… The spirit of the celebration has been hijacked!”

Some agreed, but Themba Radebe tweeted: “Can we all please deny Steve Hofmeyr the oxygen of publicity and allow him to wither and die the inconsequential death he deserves?”


2. Helen Zille’s refugee tweet: On Tuesday, in response to violent scenes which had taken place in Grabouw ostensibly over the crowded conditions at the town’s only school catering for black pupils, Zille tweeted: “While ECape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools – 22 new, 8 replacement mainly 4 ECape edu refugees. 26 MORE new schools coming.”

This solicited a firestorm of anger from tweeters and of course, the ANC.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said Zille’s use of “refugee” was racist, while ANC leader in the Provincial Legislature Lynne Brown said Zille had again inflicted “foot in mouth disease” on Twitter.

“If she does not call a singer a professional black, she builds schools for so-called refugees from the Eastern Cape,” said Brown.


3. Student’s racist tweets after Muamba’s collapse: A student was arrested after allegedly making sick comments about Fabrice Muamba, the Premier League footballer left fighting for his life after collapsing during a game.

Liam Stacey, 21, is alleged to have tweeted: “LOL. **** Muamba. He’s dead!!! #haha.”

When other users objected, he is said to have launched a volley of vile racist and sexist abuse, too offensive to print.

Later, Stacey posted tweets saying the remarks were not his and insisting he was not a racist. He claimed his account had been hacked and he hadn’t had access to his phone at the time the remarks were made. However, he was arrested by South Wales police officers in the early hours of Sunday morning.


4. Glenn Agliotti’s swipe at Gareth Cliff following his arrest: After the radio DJ’s arrest for speeding, Agliotti, a convicted drug dealer, expressed his delight on Twitter: “Is Cliff still on radio or has he been banned which he should be, as well as from Idols, the idiot!”

Agliotti then tweeted: “So Gareth Cliff, you had a lot to say about me. You are the media a**hole, dont blame them for reporting on your arrest c**t. So f**k you.”

Asked what Cliff had made of Agliotti’s outburst on Twitter, his manager Rina Broomberg said the DJ “probably ignored the tweets”. “Its Glenn Agliotti, I’m not surprised,” she said. “We wouldn’t dignify it with a response,” Broomberg added.


5. Durex’s twittervert flop: In November, as part of a promotional campaign on Twitter, Durex South Africa ran this joke: “Why did God give men penises? So they’d have at least one way to shut a woman up.”

This prompted a flurry of outrage, some criticising the company for tweeting this on the eve of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

Some of the strongest opposition was posted by writer and researcher Jen Thorpe on the website, who alleged that the attempted humour “endorsed violence against women”.

“Durex SA, you’ve really c***ed it up here. Using one’s penis to ‘shut someone up’ sounds a lot like rape to me. If you’re not sure what the definition is, feel free to have a read of the Sexual Offences Act. Forced oral sex is rape,” Thorpe said. - IOL