Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani and Port Elizabeth resident Gretchen November
Image: Athena O’Reilly

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani and Port Elizabeth resident Gretchen November on Friday smoked the proverbial peace pipe. 

As Bobani invited November to pop into his office for a cup of coffee next week‚ the pair discussed an offensive Facebook post in which Gretchen called Bobani a ‘baboon’. 

Bobani had made a quick stop at November’s home to discuss the post – and offer his forgiveness. 

The now-deleted statement was made on Tuesday when the ousting of the DA’s Athol Trollip as mayor had tongues wagging in the Bay. 

In response to a post about the matter November wrote: “Plz dnt allow those bobejaan be mayor … let march and show them PE is no sircus.” (sic)

When another Facebook user pointed out how offensive her post was‚ a Ronald Catlow wrote: “Yes‚ it’s an insult to baboons.”

To that November wrote: “I humbly apologise to the baboon.” 

On Friday‚ November asked for Bobani’s forgiveness. With a hug – and handing over a bouquet of flowers – Bobani did just that. 

An emotional November explained to Bobani that her intentions were not to be racist. 

“I am a God-fearing woman and I never meant what I said‚ but now my life is in so much danger. Our whole lives have changed‚ please forgive me‚” she said as she sobbed. 

The pair embraced one another and Bobani said: ”I read about this in The Herald and I came here to say that we are celebrating 100 years of Tata Madiba (Nelson Mandela)‚ whose message was forgiveness and reconciliation. 

“So in true spirit‚ we are all human beings and I can see this was a human error. I can see what type of person you are and I can tell you’re not a racist person. 

“I forgive you and I want to appeal to everyone to do the same. We must move on with our lives‚ forgive and forget and not open old wounds of the past.” 

November added that she felt relieved that Bobani had taken the time out to hear her out. “I feel better now that he was here and has forgiven me‚” she said.

On Wednesday‚ shortly after her writing the offensive post‚ November said: “I commented on someone else’s status‚ this guy was talking about baboons and I just made a simple statement which I so badly regret now.

“I don’t know what came over me‚ I really did not mean that our new mayor was a baboon‚ I just went with the joke that was going on on the post‚” she said.

The mother of four has since deleted her post and inboxed about 14 people to apologise for what she had said.