Phumzile Van Damme hits back at EFF’s Godrich Gardee for calling her an ‘experiment of whiteness’
DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has clapped back at former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee for calling her an “experiment of whiteness”.
Gardee’s claim comes after former DA leader Tony Leon called Mmusi Maimane an “experiment that went wrong”.
Leon caused a stir over the weekend after an interview with News24 in which he spoke about his new bookFuture Tense.
In the interview, Leon was quoted as saying Maimane was “an experiment that went wrong” when he was elected as leader of the DA in 2015 before throwing in the towel in 2019.
Gardee said Leon’s claims came as no surprise because the DA had experimented with the National Freedom Party before.
“Mbali Thuli, Phumzile Van Damme, Palesa Morudu, and many other African sisters and brothers, know you are experiments of whiteness,” said Gardee.
@MmusiMaimane has deleted the post where he poses with the son of a hanging judge @TonyLeonSA @Our_DA experimenting with NFP crew that defected to it...with @mbalimcdust @zilevandamme @palesa_morudu & many other African sisters & Brothers..Know you are experiments of whiteness ! https://t.co/PIjecSqqDA pic.twitter.com/75PoGRgfnv— Godrich Gardee (@GardeeGodrich) April 4, 2021
Van Damme clapped back, saying Gardee “experimented” with “trying her” when they were co-MCs at a Zuma Must Fall rally in parliament.
In a series of tweets, Van Damme claimed Gardee treated her like an “infant” and said respecting women “wasn’t much of a thing”.
Context: it was a #ZumaMustFall rally outside Parly ahead of a Zuma motion of no confidence vote. All parties marched together & I made sure every leader had a chance to speak. Goodrich made it all about the EFF undermining other leaders, taking up their time to speak. So 🤷🏾♀️— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) April 4, 2021
We marched a lot together those days and I could tell respecting women wasn’t much of a thing in some parties. The one time a leader of a certain party, took by the shoulders, turned me & barked “you go there.” I was so shocked I was speechless. THAT shocked.— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) April 4, 2021
She also clapped back at Twitter trolls for saying Maimane was an “experiment” and she was an “exception”.
Jan, truly shut up. You don’t get to tell me, a black person that I have no agency. That you even believe that to be true says a lot about you and less me.— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) April 4, 2021
Maimane slammed Leon for his “experiment” comment and called him out for disrespecting him.
“Wa itlhagisa, ebile wa tella (you exposed yourself and are even disrespectful). Entlek ungijwayela kabi (actually, you’ve disrespected me badly),” Maimane told Leon.
Maimane said Leon took a shot at him because he wanted the DA to celebrate the life of the late ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela when she died in 2018 and to expand the party base beyond its “traditional voters”.
“That was the right thing to do and I stand by those decisions.
“Imagine being the second largest party and saying nothing when an icon like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passes on. That would reflect a lack of ubuntu and a lack of sensitivity to the moment. I was not going to do that. Celebrating her life was the right thing to do.”