South African Judge Makes Racist Statement

south africa racism

A white South African judge is being investigated after she allegedly made a statement on Facebook claiming that rape is an accepted part of the black culture, according to BBC News. Judge Mabel Jansen, a High Court Judge in the Pretoria, has since claimed that her comments had been used out of context. She is however set to be investigated for the alleged misconduct.

The statements were allegedly made in a chat conversation on Facebook between Gillian Schutte, a social activist, and Judge Jansen. Although these conversation took place last year, they were only recently made public by Ms Schutte, provoking ire all over the country. In the conversation, Jansen talked about the treatment of women by black men, and she made extreme generalizations such as “In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them. Period” and “I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12. I am dead serious.”

Judge Mabel also allegedly said that “Murder is also not a biggy and gang rapes of baby, daughter and mother [are] a pleasurable pastime” for black men. She has since taken to Twitter to defend herself, saying that her comments had been taken completely out of context.

These revelations have since met a lot of mixed remarks on social media with many berating Judge Jansen for holding a prejudiced & generalized view on black people. Some however seem to have sympathized with her claiming that as extreme as her statements may have been, they were for the most part true, and black culture is in fact very “male dominated and patriarchal.” Yet others claim that this revelation was a violation of her privacy.

Since the revelation, Jansen has also done an interview explaining her situation to News 24, “I was referring to specific cases. It was within that context. She knew I was not generalizing.” She further added, “It is very bad when you are attacked on this basis, when you know it is the opposite. I don’t know what she is trying to do.” Ms Schutte has justified her action by saying that she wanted to expose the “deep racism and colonial thinking” prevalent in South Africa.

Many have since commented on the revelation, most of these comments from political leaders and government officials deeply condemning the extreme generalization made by Jansen. Even a petition has been launched, demanding her removal as a judge, with over 5000 people having signed it already.

Perhaps Jansen has a point, given that South Africa is a nation where even the prime minister keeps several wives. Or maybe this is just another incident showing the deep-rooted racism still prevalent in a country where a white minority ruled and imposed segregation until 1994. Twenty-two years after this Apartheid rule, the tension between the whites and blacks in this “rainbow nation” seems far from resolved.

There have been rows of revelation concerning racism in the country in recent months. In the opposite direction for instance, Velaphi Khumalo, a local government employee made headlines recently when he was suspended for posting another viral Facebook message which said that the blacks should act towards whites “as Hitler did to the Jews.” The government has promised to toughen anti-racism laws following these rows of racist statements on social media.

[Photo by Howard Klaaste/Shutterstock]