Sparrow makes a duck as threats extend to bombing

10 January 2016 - 02:00 By MATTHEW SAVIDES


Retired estate agent Penny Sparrow has gone to ground as the fallout continues over racist comments made on Facebook in which she called black people "monkeys". Sparrow, 68, has left her Scottburgh home on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast and has been staying with friends because of rape and death threats received via phone and text message.She told the Sunday Times this week that she might have to go to her father's home town of Port Elizabeth "because I still have some friends there".Her daughter, Charmaine Cowrie, who owns a nursery in the neighbouring seaside town of Park Rynie, has also received death threats and has left her home in fear of her safety. She has lodged complaints about the threats with local police.Cowrie declined a request for an interview this week.Shortly after 1pm last Saturday, Sparrow took to Facebook to moan about the amount of litter left on the Scottburgh beach after the New Year's Day celebrations.story_article_right1Her comments received a huge backlash on social media and resulted in thousands of phone calls from angry black South Africans to Cowrie's business and to the property company Sparrow worked for until October last year.A protest march against racism, led by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League, has been planned for Scottburgh tomorrow morning.On Tuesday, Sparrow said she was sorry for "doing such a stupid thing"."I'm very sorry that, when I so thoughtlessly used the wrong words, I have hurt the feelings of the people and offended the people. I know an apology is like water off a duck's back at this stage ... but I don't know how else to put it."I didn't want it to come across as racial. I just wanted to emphasise the dirt and the mess that was left behind," Sparrow said.story_article_left2"When I used the term 'like the monkeys', I meant that they are cute creatures but they are naughty and they do empty the dustbins and they do litter - and that's what I actually meant. I didn't mean to be racial [but] I have been racial and I apologise."Sparrow said that among the dozens of rape and death threats were claims that bombs had been made for her and her family."That's why I've got to keep a low figure at the moment. I've had to move away from home."It's not that I'm running away, but when there are mobs coming for you and people get together like that it becomes hysterical and I'm afraid they will do something to me," said Sparrow.

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