Person who compared black babies to dogs in tweet is black herself

24 July 2017 - 18:40 By Timeslive
Radio 702 Breakfast Show host Xolani Gwala.
Radio 702 Breakfast Show host Xolani Gwala.
Image: Xolani Gwala via Twitter

Reactions from the public over the comparison of black babies and dogs in a Radio 702 tweet have changed since it has emerged that that the person responsible for the tweet is a young black female.

One caller on Radio 702‚ named Zamo‚ explained to host Eusebius McKaiser how the race of the person who tweeted changed the interpretation of the whole thing. “I read the tweet. I was shocked. It moved me basically. Obviously‚ I think it is a white person. But when I heard later on that it is actually a black girl‚ then it changed the story for me.

“The way I relate to dogs as a 35-year-old where I grew up in the villages‚ it is totally different from a 35-year-old who is a white guy…Obviously the child [girl] went to these model C schools. She has a different relationship with a dog. It is unlike mine. Maybe‚ it [her relationship] is more closer to how white people treat dogs.

“Maybe we need to educate her [in order] to understand a broader context. But I am still saying strongly‚ if it was a white person saying this‚ it would have been pure racism…If it is a black person‚ it is no longer a shock. Actually‚ we just need to educate the child to understand how other black people view the relationship with dogs. It is no longer a race issue for me‚” Zamo said.

Radio 702 host Xolani Gwala had earlier taken his bosses to task over the tweet posted on the station’s social media account‚ comparing two black babies to dogs.

The tweet‚ posted on Sunday‚ read: “Aaaw! Dog VS baby...who’s cuter? Go ahead and evoke those broody feelings...”

It was later changed to: “Aaaw! Babies and dogs participating in the MTN702WALK will evoke those broody feelings‚” referring to the popular radio station's big walk‚ which brought thousands onto the streets of Johannesburg on Sunday.

Gwala said the tweet was despicable and demanded a proper explanation and apology from management on Monday morning.

The station‚ owned by Primedia‚ on Sunday posted a three-paragraph apology‚ which Gwala said was completely inadequate‚ and had angered him and his black colleagues.

Omar Essack‚ Primedia CEO‚ went on air with Gwala to address the controversial tweet and to apologise unreservedly.

In his show‚ McKaiser said it was interesting how many people were having a conversation about the tweet based on the assumption that the tweet was from “some 24-year-old‚ blonde girl that works at 702”.

He argued against Zamo’s views that the tweet was no longer racist now that the person who tweeted was found to be black.

“I have not met my colleague‚ who tweeted this thing. I just have been told that it is a black woman. My first prediction was that some of us will assume‚ she must be a coconut who went to a white school…If you have to find out that she went to a state school and she is from Limpopo and she arrived in Joburg yesterday. Then you suddenly have to readjust how class intersect with a racial question.

“The race element in the conversation does not go out the window once you know a black person tweeted something. We have to talk about self hate and internalised oppression.”

Another caller said he had did not see anything racist about the tweet at all in its original form.

“I see someone trying to do a nice tweet to get clicks. They made a pretty stupid error in how they phrased the sentence…I total get where the person was coming from. I think they should get a re-education on the etiquette on Twitter. I’m struggling to place the outrage…‚” the caller said.

- TimesLIVE