Black businessman who chastised white vagrant was trying to 'break the internet'

22 January 2019 - 15:46 By JEFF WICKS and Kyle Zeeman
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Durban businessman Lindo Buthelezi, who filmed himself chastising a white beggar asking for R2, said the controversial clip was part of a "documentary" which would address uncomfortable issues of race and poverty.

The video, filmed on a cellphone on Durban’s Golden Mile, went viral at the weekend.

Buthelezi is the owner of a media agency called "FameUs". 

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Tuesday, Buthelezi said his admonishment of the homeless man was part of a carefully planned PR campaign which would "break the internet".

"I own a PR company and we break the internet with these kinds of campaigns," he said.

"The trending video of a white man being refused R2 and being given an uncomfortable lecture is actually not a racist video but is part of a new documentary that's been in the works for some time," he said.

The video sparked massive debate on social media, with many slamming Buthelezi.

The businessman said despite the backlash, he was happy with the response.

"I'm really excited and happy that we evoked so much emotion, which is what we've been working on for such a long time.

"White people need to face reality and get to know us without them feeling superior. Poverty is real and can be addressed once the people who control the economy are exposed to it first hand. Because these issues are continuously swept under the carpet, it goes to show how far we are with this rainbow nation and transformation we 'think' we've mastered."

Buthelezi apologised to anyone who was upset by the video but claimed it was his responsibility as a creative professional to push boundaries and spark debate.

"If the video upset you, I'm sorry for your wasted pain because that was not meant to hurt you but to make you conscious. I love people and I work overtime to feed people, educate kids and I'm the only young businessmen who installed free internet for the poor in the community where I grew up." 

The documentary called The Flip Side SA will air on YouTube mid-2019. Buthelezi promised similar experiments in the series. All of these are recorded on his cellphone. He has previously shot a mini-documentary called How to fake a vacation.

In the now-viral video, Buthelezi films himself being approached by the beggar who asks him for money.

"I’m a very nice guy. I’m a very giving person‚ but my forefathers will kill me if I had to give R2 to a white guy," he told the bemused beggar.

"White people are murderers‚ my man. You've killed our forefathers. You are here illegally and you still want me to give you a R2.

"My man‚ I feel disrespected. I’m sitting here nicely‚ working in the beach‚ in the ocean and relaxing and you’re coming here to disturb me. Why are you doing this my brother?"

The beggar replies: "I am hungry."

In response to condemnation of his actions, Buthelezi said: "There are certain conversations that you need to bring fore and that is why we did that."

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