Clifton restaurant sparks Twitter firestorm over '2 blacks' bill

19 December 2016 - 20:52
By Wendy Knowler And TMG Digital
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A Cape Town restaurant bill on which diners were described as “2 BLACKS” has re-ignited claims that many of the Mother City’s top restaurants are racist.

On Monday morning‚ Sivuyile Madikana‚ who was voted SA Medical Association’s Junior Doctor of the Year last month‚ posted a photo on Twitter of his bill from Clifton’s The Bungalow of yesterday‚ on which the words “2 BLACKS” appear with the the comment “Wow. Just Wow. Cape Town never loved any of us. And I actually used to like this place - The Bungalow in Clifton.”

His dining partner‚ Scott Maqetuka‚ tweeted: The Bungalow in Clifton still sees us by the colour of our skin.”

The upmarket restaurant is part-owned by Chris Coutroulis‚ the owner of Sandton nightclub Taboo and husband of former Miss South Africa Vanessa Carreira.

The incident has since blown up on Twitter‚ most responders accusing the establishment of racism.

Socialite Kenny Kunene weighed in with: "I just called this racist restaurant in Cape Town. They confirm this is their slip n that's how they do things there. Mischell is da manager”.

The Bungalow - part of The Kove Collection - put out a statement saying that its system was to identify customers by table numbers only. “This was the act of one employee‚ and an internal investigation is taking place‚ and procedures put into place to ensure that this does not happen again.

“No offence was intended - we apologise unreservedly. The Bungalow has a clear policy of non-discrimination on the basis of gender‚ race‚ religion or sexual orientation.”

A source has revealed that the restaurant has bills from other tables served by the waiter in question‚ a Zimbabwean‚ which describe patrons as “six white guys” or “two blondes” and that these were shown to the men when they complained to restaurant management at the time of the incident.

But TimesLive has been unable to confirm this with them and attempts to get the restaurant to provide them were unsuccessful.

Maqetuka is clearly unimpressed by the restaurant’s tweeted apology.

“I do not accept your apology‚” he tweeted. “You failed to contact me directly as an offended patron.”

The waiter at the centre of the storm was due to report for duty on Monday evening. A restaurant spokesman said he would not lose his job.

Technology analyst and commentator Arthur Goldstuck warned that social media was very unforgiving of stereotyping. “Businesses need to be aware that pretty much every customer walking into their establishment now has an internet connected camera.

“Disgruntled customer not only have tools to capture any slip-up on the establishment’s part‚ but also the platform to share it easily and instantly with the world. Social media leaves no margin for error‚” Goldstuck said.

The incident comes a week after another Cape Town restaurant was accused of racism.

A white woman allegedly racially abused a group of coloured patrons. The group of friends allege that they were thrown out by bouncers‚ while the white woman was allowed to finish her drink.

Clarke’s Bar and Dining apologised for the treatment of a group of patrons on Friday night‚ after the group took to social media to voice their frustrations‚ according to the Cape Argus. The report said the restaurant planned to shut down for a day to conduct a mediation session with the parties involved and all the venue’s staff.

- TMG Digital