The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation expresses its outrage following an appalling video, in which a Johannesburg man, Adam Catzavelos, makes use of the word ‘kaffir’.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton, said that while racism remains an ongoing problem in the country, “nothing should take from the level of outrage and disgust that we should express following an incident of this nature”.
Catzavelos, who was holidaying in what reportedly seems to be Greece, shared the following sentiments in a video that has since gone viral: “Let me give you a weather forecast here. Blue skies, beautiful day, amazing sea and not one ‘kaffir’ in sight…”
“We want to tell Catzavelos, that perhaps he should remain in what he describes in his video as “heaven on earth”. South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and if he is not prepared to live under this edict of our Constitution, then maybe he should go and find some enclave where his racism will be tolerated. Unlike during apartheid, our country today, and its beaches, are open to everyone. We really don’t require racists like Catzavelos in our public spaces,” Balton said.
He noted the decision by the family business where Catzavelos worked to fire the racist offender. “Racism must be made expensive for racists. Just as we have done with H&M, and in recent weeks, KFC, Sasol and hopefully Mugg & Bean in the coming days, we will endeavour to engage with the business to understand their policies and sanctions for racism within the institution and by their staff. We need more concrete steps from St Georges Fine Foods to show that the business is totally opposed to racism.
“We also note Nedbank and 702’s distancing themselves from Catzavelos, who participated in their Business Accelerator Programme several years ago.
“We must further applaud ordinary people on social media for calling out Catzavelos’ racism. It’s important that people who are so blatantly racist be made social pariahs.”
Balton added though, that more had to be done. “It is a crying shame that even high profile social media racism cases in the last few years, like that of Vicki Momberg and Penny Sparrow, have not deterred the likes of Catzavelos. It seems that such offenders share a truly heightened sense of racial arrogance that makes them think that they are immune to the laws of this country or any form of retribution.
“In the past, we’ve had half-hearted apologies and all sorts of excuses. We refuse to accept this any longer!” he stated.
“We will be filing a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission with a request that this case be taken up through the Equality Courts, and we would urge the state to pursue criminal charges against this man. The Vicki Momberg case has set a precedent and I certainly think its time that racist offenders face jail sentences.
“If anything, the Catzavelos case reminds us just how deeply entrenched racial attitudes are and that fighting racism requires dedicated focus across all sectors of society and across all fronts. It is up to us to ensure that people like Catzavelos are called out in order for them to face the consequences of their racism.”