Winnie and Vicki: They both tell the South African story

05 April 2018 - 08:00
Convicted racist Vicki Momberg just after she was sentenced to 3 years at the Randburg Magistrate court.
Convicted racist Vicki Momberg just after she was sentenced to 3 years at the Randburg Magistrate court.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/ Sunday Times

Two women divided South Africa this week. The one went to prison for her unrelenting racism. The other went to the grave after a lifetime of fighting racism.

Vicki and Winnie. Each would split public opinion right down the middle. In the process we would discover just how far apart we still are as citizens of this beautiful country.

A chunk of white South Africa simply could not understand that a white person would go to prison for racism. Everyday racism is so entrenched in our society that being punished for it must have come as a shock to some.

AfriForum, long devoid of any moral consciousness, would, with childish predictably, cry foul – but what about the black racist? I suspect though that what sunk Vicki Momberg was not only her racism but her lack of remorse. I wonder if Vicki is a moron, in the old psychiatric sense of the word. Even if she meant what she uttered in those racist tirades, one would have expected some sense of self-interest; that to feign remorse could soften the sentence.

That said, I doubt this unprecedented sentence will stand as the case is appealed in higher courts. I know for sure that the sentence will not act as a deterrent to racists. Two years of community service in a black police station might have given Vicki a much better chance of racial rehabilitation than locking her away in a cell. The truth is we will need a lot more prisons if every racist outburst comes before Vicki’s sentencing magistrate, Pravina Rugoonandan.

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