by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – IN a rare show of unity against xenophobia, local and foreign nationals condemned a South African woman who displayed intolerance at a restaurant in Johannesburg on Monday morning.
The woman, posting as Shokwakhe @Shokwakhe16, on her Twitter account, took to social media to display her xenophobic rhetoric against a Zimbabwean waiter employed at a Wimpy in Clearwater Mall.
She refused to be served by a Zimbabwean waiter insisting she be attended to by a fellow South African.
“Today I had breakfast at Wimpy Clearwater Mall a waiter by the name of Nomatter from Zimbabwe came to serve us at our table. I politely told her that I want to be served by a South African. Normalize refusing to be served by aliens #PutSouthAfricansFirst,” she tweeted.
The term alien is derogatory and was widely used by some media in 2008 when South Africa suffered its most sever outbreak of xenophobia. Some 62 people, including 21 locals died whilst more than 300, 000 others were displaced.
In her post, the now-infamous Shokwakhe16 appeared to be soliciting for sympathy from her compatriots but she received a barrage of criticism.
The censure came from across the continent (Africa) as the issue became the most trending topic locally.
Misheck Hakulandaba @hakulandaba reacted to @Shokwakhe16 saying: “If only you had put a SAn restaurant first ahead of the UK owned Wimpy, I would have taken you seriously…I am sure this could be the long term side effects of being dominated by white SAns before & after 1994. We need to Decolonise your mind very slowly or you won’t keep up…”
Suntosh Pillay @suntoshpillay concurred: “Normalize Decolonizing Your Mind,” while Delight Benge @DelightBenge hit-back @Shokwakhe16 saying: “70% of Zimbabwe’s imports are from South Africa and these create jobs in http://S.Africa while depriving ZWns (Zimbabweans). If ZW-SA economic ties are cut SA unemployment rate will increase. Wimpy meal is not as important as you think.”
One Grand Master @GrandmasterE2 responded @Shokwakhe16 arguing: “Patriotic should never mean Afrophobic. I bet you buy from Chinese, get served by Italians and Greeks and never refuse the service from those. You get your cellphone and computer repaired by Pakistani but never question them. But come a Zimbabwean then suddenly you are patriotic!”
A tweet from South African writer and activist, Elinor Sisulu @ElinorSisulu also weighed in @Shokwakhe16 saying: “Waiters are the most vulnerable worker. To abuse a waiter and boast about it is shameful. You would have done better to seek answers from the employers about why they employ Zimbabweans rather than abuse a worker. Disgusting.”
Southern Africa Consultant at the International Crisis Group, Piers Pigou @PiersPigou reacted to @Shokwakhe16: “This kind of discriminatory thinking if replicated globally would simply feed ignorance and intolerance. Perhaps this xenophobic posturing is unintentional, but i wonder whether you would like fellow South Africans working in the UK for example to be treated this way.”
One Tawona @1_call1 went for the attack saying: “From her profile pic she looks very backward. I think she is a dropout.”
Jay Gatsby @StrAightMARVIN reminded @Shokwakhe16 saying: “If you were such a patriot, why didn’t you ask for a South African owned Mall and a South African owned restaurant? You see? White people have narrowed our minds to have us fighting each other over crumbs while they eat the bread.”
I_AmQuder @I_AmQuder reasoned to @Shokwakhe16: “You requested to be served by a local waiter in an international food outlet? Thinking face I won’t go any further, evaluate yourself Sisi. Look deeper.”
King Solomon @BlaChiwara hit-back accusing majority South Africans of being lazy whilst preferring drinking beer at the expense of work.
He tweeted: “The truth is most locals (South Africans) are not employable. They abscond work when paid and love their beer more than work.”
One called Martin @martsib urged @Shokwakhe16 not to be selective in her so-called patriotism saying: “Cool sister. Do the same when you get coronavirus and go to hospital. Refuse being treated by alien doctors and nurses!”
Proud Afrika @proudafrika questioned: “So what is stopping South Africans from apply (applying) for these jobs. All the whining. Let them get off their arse (ass) and go work as a maid, work in the garden, clean the toilets, wait tables, be security guards.”
Effort Maguta @effort_maguta sarcastically hit at @Shokwakhe16 saying: “I like the fact that this Tweet isn’t going as planned Winking face with tongue.”
Tapiwa @BigHomieTaps weighed in saying: “The founder of the parent company comes from a family of Greek Immigrants, they have 2782 stores in SA are you going to avoid them all? Or it’s just the black foreigners that bother you? How many South Africans do you employ? And do they pay taxes?”
Paa Sunganonashe @pa_dimplets accused South Africans of abandoning jobs at restaurants preferring white-collar jobs.
He tweeted saying: “I worked that job (restaurants) in varsity. My SA friends & most on campus despised it. I served them when they came to party with NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) monies. Relying on tips with no salary they declared that’s below them. Do a simple census on how many in your circles want to work in such conditions Woman shrugging.”
Sesotho Fashioneng @R1chainlink argued saying former Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane coaching Egyptians giants could have not been offered a job if the North Africans had same mentality as South Africans.
“Imagine if Arabs would have same sentiments about Pitso Mosimane, just imagine. #PutSouthAfricanFirst in sense that it doesn’t end up to ‘attack’ innocent Africans, working in restaurant being hired is it a crime.”
Mushatirwa @mushatirwa educated @Shokwakhe16 saying: “The Founder of Wimpy is Edward Gold (US)J. Lyons and Co. (UK) both foreigners in SA. If you had gone to a black South African owned restaurant and refuse to be served by a foreigner maybe I wouldn’t comment. Just don’t use foreign owned restaurants and shops. Go to Soweto.”
Tembelani Sibanda @tembelani96 said: “Yeah you probably don’t know this but south African artists come to Zimbabwe fill out stadiums and arenas.”
The Junior @chigudu5 poked @Shokwakhe16 saying: “Woow, you just bought a simple meal at Wimpy now u think everyone around you is a fool! DM me the store name I want to reward that Zim waiter with double the amount you paid for your meal…” whilst SABC’s Kenya correspondent Sarah Kimani reacted: “Wimpy is not even South African.”
Simbayi Matsika @SimbayiMatsika vowed: “I am going to have breakfast tomorrow at Wimpy at Clearwater Mall tomorrow morning. I will tip handsomely whoever serves me plus a tip for Nomatter who is now my adopted sister.”
Shiela Tloane @sondoza reacted: “Waking up to such tweets really make some of us weak, in this day and age we still see Africans in a different light. What legacy are we creating for our kids, hate and intolerance? I thought we made gains in seeing each others as human other than aliens. Face with rolling eyes.”
Makoromokwa Zimba made fun of the xenophobic lady saying: “With your hair style I doubt if you can afford a meal at Wimpy Smiling face with open mouth and cold sweatSmiling face with open mouth and cold sweat.”
Джон Уик McToxic @Toxic_the_king reminded @Shokwakhe16 that there were so many South Africans working in other countries, who are not being abused as they do to other Africans.
“As of 2012, there were approximately 80,000 people born in South Africa who were living in the United States (according to the OECD). As of 2019, there were approximately 85,000 people born in South Africa who were living in the United States.”
Mmatigari @matigary tweeted: “An idiot goes to a foreign owned restaurant chain to spend South African rands and complains about being served by a foreigner? Why didn’t you go to spend at a South African owned restaurant? Your brain is on the wrong side.”
@Shokwakhe16 was still defending her stance but came across as clutching at straws.
“I feel very safe under the wings of #PutSouthAfricansFirst, I have no fear because I’m protected. Thank you compatriots, We will not be silenced,” she tweeted.
– CAJ News