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TikToker under investigation for speaking out against racism

Racism Stops With Me. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Racism Stops With Me. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Published Nov 12, 2023


LOBBY group AfriForum has opened a case against a TikToker for making what the organisation says are false and damaging claims of racist utterances by three young white men at the Gold Reef City theme park, south of Johannesburg.

This comes after Njabulo Madlanga, 21, took to TikTok to speak out on what she alleges happened to her at the theme park on July 6 this year while standing in a queue.

Madlanga, who is a law student, said she went to Gold Reef City to celebrate a sibling’s birthday, when the three young men allegedly directed monkey sounds at them.

Madlanga explains that she and her siblings were in the queue for a fun ride when a verbal fight erupted. She said this was after the three made comments about the make-up she was wearing.

“These people were right behind us, so close that we could hear each other’s conversation very clearly. And we could look at each other because we were in the same line.

“One of them started making comments about my make-up, saying they don’t understand why people wear make-up because it looks cakey on them. They laughed about it.

“I was wearing make-up on that day and I knew that they were talking about me. I decided to make a jab back at them. I was talking about the one who made the comments first and told him his earring was unfashionable.

“My siblings and I laughed about it. I think that’s when they got angry and started making monkey sounds,” she said.

Madlanga further said she and her siblings were shocked.

“I felt humiliated and angry, especially because this happened with my younger siblings around. After, we spoke about what happened. We asked each other if this was something that happened. We spoke very loud about it. And they were just smiling.”

“I couldn’t record anything because my phone was in the bag. But I took it out and started talking about what happened.”

She said on TikTok: “So let me tell you something; we in this line here, in this place, Gold Reef City, people will make sound effects here if you are black. I’m just saying, monkey sound effects, so just you know that.”

According to AfriForum, the 21-year-old is now being investigated and faces charges of crimen injuria and criminal defamation.

The organisation further revealed that the Booysens Magistrate Court has granted an interim protection order against Madlanga, prohibiting her from further harassing and enlisting the help of others to harass the complainants.

The lobby group also issued a media statement that Madlanga was facing a criminal investigation for her alleged false and damaging allegation of racism levelled against the three.

The group said the trio were represented by AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. It said the case relates to a series of social media posts by Madlanga.

This follows reports on Netwerk 24 and in Beeld newspaper on the allegations involving Reece Lopes (20) Milan Kruijer (20) and Jud Fraser-Grant (21).

The Sunday Independent has seen a screenshot in which one of the trio said: “It has come to my attention, NJ, that you’ve posted a video on TikTok involving myself and two of my friends, claiming that we were allegedly making animal noises directed towards you and your siblings as a result of our race.

“Not only is the entire situation completely fabricated, but my friends and I are now receiving intimidating messages, being labelled as racists, and being attacked. Either you take down the videos, or I will be pressing charges for harassment and defamation of my character, as well as my friends.”

Madlanga responded: “My siblings and I heard what you and your friends, specifically Reece [Lopes], did. Monkey sound effects were made. You cannot intimidate me, we know what we heard. Why were those noises made?”

However, he then asked if Madlanga had any evidence of “doing something we never did”.

AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit communications manager Barry Bateman did not respond to questions, opting instead to send a media statement and an affidavit from Lopes.

In his affidavit, Lopes stated he had never been accused of being racist and he had never been exposed personally to any allegations or any accusations of racism in any manner or form of whatsoever nature.

He said he was innocent of all of the accusations of racism that have been “unlawfully published about me” on social media platforms by Madlanga.

He said the SA Police Service should institute a comprehensive and thorough investigation into all allegations of crimen injuria.

In its court papers, AfriForum wants Madlanga to also remove all posts relating and incidental to charges of cybercrime, criminal defamation and crimen injuria registered at Booysens Police Station, from social media platforms. This includes Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter (also known as X).

It also demanded that she should surrender the device used to record and publish the original videos relating to the harassment and incidental charges of cybercrime, criminal defamation and crimen injuria to the detective commander or the detective services at Booysens SAPS.

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