WATCH | Five public figures who have slammed Helen Zille's 'black privilege' tweet
Media personalities Pearl Thusi and Hlomla Dandala, author Zakes Mda, former public protector Thuli Madonsela and finance minister Tito Mboweni have all taken to Twitter to call out Helen Zille on her "black privilege" tweet that she posted on Friday.
Zille got into trouble for saying that black people - like some white South Africans - are privileged, attributing this to politicians who are alleged to be corrupt and to have looted billions from the state.
She was initially responding to a video circulating on Twitter of an American poet who was addressing white privilege. Zille asked why she spoke English.
Her statements have sparked conversations on colonialism, how black people were forced to learn to speak English due to oppression, as well as white people being the beneficiaries of colonialism - the phenomenon known as white privilege.
Here's what these public figures had to say in response to Zille:
Hlomla Dandala: white privilege vs black privilege
The truth of #WhitePrivilege will not end because of ur sensitivities. White ppl ARE beneficiaries of a system designed on all levels to give them a head start. Whether they’re good guys or bad guys. This is fact!— Literate Lion (@HlomlaDandala) May 17, 2019
It isn’t racism to point it out, either. & doesn’t need ur consent https://t.co/cDEhTw8oCy
Thuli Madonsela: 'Don't brand blacks as political pretenders and looters'
Dear @helenzille white privilege is universal and comes with the premium the world places on whiteness plus accumulated historical advantages. To equate it with black privilege is myopic. To brand blacks as looters and political pretenders is wrong. Please withdraw and apologize https://t.co/vTwbyn7aDI— Prof Thuli Madonsela (@ThuliMadonsela3) May 17, 2019
Pearl Thusi: 'Stop using corruption to excuse apartheid'
Using corruption and its foibles to shield and excuse racism is weak. But thank you for showing yourself.— Pearl Thusi (@PearlThusi) May 17, 2019
Zakes Mda: 'Africans were forced to learn English'
Because English is her first language, you ninny! She knows no other. Her ancestors were captured from Africa to America centuries ago, and were severely punished, sometimes to death, when they spoke their own West African languages - until they were lost in time. Basic history https://t.co/lZcV116xnO— Zakes Mda (@ZakesMda) May 17, 2019
Tito Mboweni: 'Stop tweeting, Helen'
Dear Tito, I love you Tata, and I will never forget you giving me you seat on an aeroplane when I was battling with a sick baby on my lap. You saved my life that day. But I have my sleeves rolled up and I am sick of minority South Africans being abused. I will fight to the end.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 19, 2019