South Africa has been lit with the Ntokozo Qwabe #WaitressTip saga – R130, 000 in donations have been raised, and a petition to rescind Qwabe’s scholarship has reportedly been delivered to Oxford University.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have signalled their support of Ntokozo Qwabe in a statement released on Thursday. “We stand with Qwabe and defend his right to protest,” the statement said, adding that the student activist’s refusal to tip the waitress signals social discontent over black landlessness.
The party, whose members were suspended from parliament on Wednesday, called on young South Africans to be unapologetic in calling out white privilege.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says there is a growing sensitivity towards issues like land ownership.
“I think it has always been that to some extent people have always expressed this thing, but now there is a growing sensitivity around this thing as people are trying to attend to the racial issues,” he said.
The EFF for one, has encouraged young people to rise up on these issues.
“The whole world should know that the EFF is proud of Ntokozo Qwabe and hopes many like him within the youth rise to also question, expose and critique white privilege wherever they see it,” the party said in its statement.
The controversy surrounding the incident continues to dominate conversation online.
A sum of about R130, 000 has been raised for the waitress, Ashleigh Shultz, through two crowdfunding campaigns. And her response to the campaign has also come under scrutiny.
A screenshot of a Facebook post from Shultz went viral on Thursday, eliciting further discussion about the nature of white privilege in South Africa.
In the post, Shultz expressed surprise at the attention and support she has received. She also goes on about putting the past away and, rather nobly, states that “an eye for an eye makes the world blind”. Shultz refers to herself as a victim of racism and insists that the misdeeds of the past cannot be righted in the current day.
— Wanelisa Xaba (@blak_terrorist) May 4, 2016
But South Africans aren’t letting the issue rest. Public Facebook posts attributed to Schultz’s mother have been dug up, highlighting Schultz’s rather privileged position in society.
Schultz’s mother, in a Facebook rant about the original incident, describes Qwabe as suffering from “short man syndrome”, and also accuses him of being a “tikkie” (crystal meth addict). In another post shared by her, very much in the vein of the post Dianne Kohler Barnard got into trouble for, South Africa is depicted as a peaceful, beautiful place under white rule and with a black government it’s more violent, dirty and unruly.
The Daily Vox has reached out to Ashleigh Schultz and Cheryl Grundlingh for comment.