Twitter erupts as Stellenbosch varsity students don black face

23 September 2014 - 12:19 By Bianca Capazorio and Nashira Davids

Twitter has reacted with fury after a photograph of two white, male Stellenbosch University students - who painted their faces brown and dressed up like Venus and Serena Williams emerged - the second such incident at a South African university in two months.

Last month two University of Pretoria students sparked outrage when they pulled a similar stunt. They painted their faces brown and dressed like domestic workers. After the photograph was posted on social media the university launched an investigation.

People expressed shock and outrage over the Williams sisters image posted on Instagram by Michael Weaver in which he posts: “Hanging out with the Williams sisters. Let’s hope they don’t get kicked out the varsity for this one”.

He identifies the two men, dressed in tennis gear and blackface, as Mark Burman and Ross Bartlett. They were attending a 21st birthday party.

The photo was retweeted hundreds of times. Siyabonga Nyezi wrote “Stellenbosch students with some blackface. Classy as always.”

Twitter user Agent Fynbos wrote: “Maybe we can postpone Braai Day until this don’t happen no more”.

“More white people being racist. Blackface at Stellenbosch because some people never learn,” Dan Philander tweeted.

Themba Radebeer meanwhile tweeted that it was “not surprising that it’s Stellenbosch University.”

Comedian Siv Ngesi referenced the Pretoria incident saying “After what happened to the last two! These two must get it.”

Several people called for the two to be disciplined immediately.

“Suspend these idiots immediately,” wrote user Star Princess while Michelle Avenant wrote “what can we do to make sure that these guys do get kicked out of varsity? Tell me and I’m there.”

Martin Viljoen, spokesman for Stellenbosch University, could not be reached for comment.