White South African Politician Helen Zille Under Fire for Calling Musician “Professional Black”

White South African political leader Helen Zille under fire for describing musician Simphiwe Dana as a “professional black” during racism row on Twitter.

helen zille professional black 300x109 White South African Politician Helen Zille Under Fire for Calling Musician Professional Black

White South African Politician Helen Zille Under Fire for Calling Musician "Professional Black"

Who is a professional black in South Africa? That term caused an online racism row on Twitter. Helen Zille, the white leader of the Democratic Alliance, has come under fire for using the term ‘professional black’ to describe musician Simphiwe Dana.

The Helen Zille definition of a professional black: “People who base their life and purpose around their colour.”

The Helen Zille definition of a professional white: “It is someone who is self-obsessed and claims victimhood because they are white.”

How did we get to this place? According to the Times of South Africa, the Twitter racism row began when model and singer Lindiwe Suttle tweeted about the racism she has suffered in Cape Town, the country’s most popular tourist destination.

“No matter how famous/rich you are, you’re still a 2nd class citizen if you’re Black in Cape Town, @helenzille when’s the change you spoke about happening,” she wrote.

That didn’t sit pretty with Helen Zille and she put her foot in her mouth with her ridiculous responses.

Zille, a former mayor of Cape Town and now premier of Western Cape province, shot back: “What complete nonsense,” going on to say it was “a baseless assertion”.

Then others waded in. Marang Setshwaelo, who describes herself as a publicist and entrepreneur, posted: “Someone says they feel racism, ‘What Nonsense!’ is NOT an appropriate response.”

Again Zille, a prolific tweeter, countered: “They did NOT say they ‘feel’ racism. They said Cape Town IS racist. BIG difference. I respect feelings but not blanket accusations.”

I guess Helen Zille has learned two valuable lessons — you can’t presume to understand how a people who has been discriminated against should feel nor should you underestimate  the power of social media.

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 White South African Politician Helen Zille Under Fire for Calling Musician Professional Black
Janet Shan is a freelance journalist and managing editor of the Hinterland Gazette, who is working on her first novel, a mystery based in the hills on Montego Bay.