What happened when a black family tried to make reservations at a posh Cape Town restaurant


MARTINA DAHLMANNS, who blogs at GunnaGirls, was fuming at her friends’ treatment by Azure restaurant at The 12 Apostles, Camps Bay, but is cautiously optimistic that dialogue can create a change in attitudes.

So the other day my friend, who happens to be black, sent me a text: could I please call this number and book a table for six people for the following evening. Her dad had tried and was told it was fully booked. He suspected racism.

Well, I thought, or rather hoped, it’s the holiday season, tourists everywhere, chances are, the place is fully booked.

But I was wrong. I got a booking no problem.

I even asked twice: are you sure, you have a table for six people tomorrow evening? The friendly lady said, yes, that’s confirmed. She took my name and number and that was that.

Needless to elaborate on my feelings of outrage, frustration, dismay and the whole scale in-between. I was gutted.

My friend thought about not going (rather not give them her money on top of the insult that is) – but at the end of the day, what would that achieve?

We had talked before about claiming white spaces as a means to fight racism, but should people really have to spend their friend- and family-time in a racist environment, being stared at and whispered about at the very least, and possibly openly insulted?

But then again, I suppose this is the everyday reality of black people in predominantly white spaces – so what difference does it make if it’s just another day in white suburbia, or rather Camps Bay in this case?

They did go.

And were told at reception: Sorry, we don’t have a booking under that name.


My phone rang, as I was bathing my kids. My friend only said: “Apparently you did not book…” and hands over the phone to a flustered receptionist, who clearly did not expect those black people she was about to send away to have a white back-up on the other end of that phone.

I don’t think she got the first word in before I literally lost the plot.

I shouted and fumed and said lots of things that could have been formulated much better and more to the point, but what the hell. She got the message and suddenly could not apologise enough.

And yes, she would look after my friends, they would get extra-special treatment which, it later emerged, really translated into her trying to squeeze them into a corner of the restaurant, where the sight of them would not offend the other diners. On top of that they were told to keep their voices down, because “there are other people dining here as well”.

Yep, just when you think this could actually not get any worse, they get told off by a snotty white student waitress like a bunch of rowdy kids on a playground.

At that point, my friends demanded to see the manger, who apologised (again) and got them a table among the white folk. They got offered drinks and food on the house to make up for the “misunderstanding”, but they politely declined.

Surprise, surprise: these black folk did not make a fuss in order to avoid paying their bill; they actually wanted an apology from the waitress. Which they did not get.

At first.

My dialogue-weathered friend, however, cornered her in the course of the evening and gave her a crash course on her racist attitude and how to handle herself in future – and guess what? She actually relented, apologised and even reflected on how she would make sure not to repeat her demeaning behaviour towards fellow humans in future.


“I don’t even care,” says my friend, “as long as she thinks twice before treating people like second-class citizens again.”

And that might just happen.

Now, before you start cheering and clapping: this is not a win.

This is not even a success.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. It is finally a small piece of evidence for the existence of the living, breathing and widely ignored elephant in the room of white privilege.

Given half a chance, this incident would have been swept under the carpet as a “misunderstanding”, my friends been made the stereotypical “angry black people”, who are “playing the race card” to free load or get into a place they don’t have a right to be in.

What made all the difference this time, was our team effort in pointing out the beast. My voice of white privilege made a small crack in the armour of denial and my white anger could not be dismissed. I used the power of my privilege to vent, threaten and ultimately claim a space in this room for my friends to be seen and heard instead of ignored and dismissed.

This is not something to be proud of. It is a shameful, sad, frustrating and enraging state of affairs 20-odd years after Apartheid officially ended.

I do however feel cautiously optimistic at the thought that three years of dialogue have united a small group of us in teaming up and exposing the beast. So maybe, just maybe we are on the right track and if more will join us in dialogue, we will at least disturb the delusional slumber of white complacency, which to this day insists that apartheid is over and racism does not exist anymore.

Oh, and just in case you want to book a table and test the waters: The 12 Apostles in Camps Bay is waiting for your call.

And join our Facebook group if you want to be part of the conversation: This Dialogue Thing – open for business.

– This post was originally published by Martina Philcox on the GunnaGirls blog, with the headline “Using my white privilege.”  

The 12 Apostles Hotel has responded saying “We have zero tolerance to racism or any form of discrimination. The matter has the full attention of management to be resolved amicably.”

– Featured image by Andrew Massyn via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: In the original article, we referred blogger Martina Philcox. However, while she blogs under this name, she prefers to be known as Martina Dahlmanns, and we have updated the article to reflect this. The Daily Vox regrets the error.

Update: For more information on this story, including comment Dahlmanns’ friend, Tumi Mpofu, see our follow-up by Ra’eesa Pather.


  1. I must say I find this entire story incredibly unlikely.
    Azure has been one of our favourite restaurants for years… We go there several times a year. We have seen many non white guests in the restaurant and they have always been treated like any other guest.
    Further more, there is no space in the restaurant which is out of the site of other guests… The corner tables, which is surrounded by glass is actually the best tables in the restaurant because of the views!
    I just don’t believe that this tale could have played out the way told here.

    • I have dined at Azure. It was a wonderful experience. Delicious cuisine! Wonderful and attentive staff. A memorable stay. I don’t believe the racist claim for a second! Mohammed

      • So, just because you have dined there and never experienced an incident of racism, it could not have happened? Are you seriously deluded or what? Do you acknowledge that people change and that perhaps new staff get employed?

        • Great so at least we have reached the point where we acknowledge that individuals and not the establishment are racist and to blame for this incident. Great…so racism is alive and kicking in many parts of our society, who would have thought?!

    • Just as the author anticipated, the incident is downplayed and dismissed as arbitrary. Privilege must be wonderfully delusional.

    • Brendan. White people in Cape Town always find this kind of thing unlikely. And I don’t blame you. The system was created that way. It’s the same way how white “non-apartheid ” people saw robin island from the fancy restaurants of the waterfront and believed all was good. AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T HAPPEN TO YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.

    • So what you are trying to imply is that blacks are lying? Is that what you saying. You sound like a racist, infact you are one, you just subtle about it. In this country, blacks don’t have any issues with whites at all, its the whites that find us inferior. The day I will be convinced that racism is over in this country is when whites date blacks and have no issues with colour. I went to school with whites and they would say this or that black girl or guy is hot etc but they won’t dare make a move out of fear of being judged by their own kind, were as with blacks and am speaking from experience you date a white the community has zero issues with it. M black proud and no white will dare treat me like am meaningless. Fareness is what your type lacks. No wonder Mugabe treats your type like trash, the same way you treat us. You are like a cancer, always causing pain and hatred.

      • Seems like you are the racist here with your comment (this apart from what was being said above). You’re generalizing, just because a few is racist does not mean all of us are.

        The problem is… everyone should stop using the word black or white. We still differentiate between color of skin and that’s the problem. As soon as we stop mentioning skin color racism will stop.

      • Mika, please re-read your post. Personally, I find it racist and – as a proud white person – I take great offense at being compared with cancer.

  2. Maybe it was a reservation and admin error, why go and blast the venue and play the race cards. I am coloured and im sick of black people and even my fellow coloured brothers and sisters throwing the race card at anything. If I was a error on the personnel’s side then management can deal with it and sort it out.

    • Did u read the story?…how is that, just playing some sort of “card” ur talking about… A waitress treating people like that is not an admin error…saying there is no space, then immediately saying there is, and then upon realisation of the guests, again saying there is no booking…and then after hearing the booking maker then saying there is in fact a booking?….people like you pat themselves on their back for being *sick and tired of the referral of race* its ridiculous.. If something is racist, it’s racist, its ok to point it out…

      • Thank you Kai, people don’t see this and are trying to be ignorant. racism still exists, the story it’s clear and I like the fact that it’s a white folk who posted this

    • I wish I could agree with you Gav..being a ‘coloured’ myself I’m appalled by your ignorance. Did you not read the article? Open your eyes… Racism and and discrimination is dealt in action not always in words…someone won’t come out and claim to be a racist. This article is based on someone’s experience and their facts of discrimination against certain people. When I feel like someone is not treating me fairly I always keep an open mind as to why I’m being treated a specific way hey – actions and mannerisms says alot (how they treat others around me etc.) Racism is a reality in some instances and this was that instance where someone experienced. @Shinaaz you were taught correctly about hospitality does not mean everyone else is practising correctly. Unfortunately, racism is a reality and does exist in some instances not to mention gerrymandering in Cape Town (but that is a topic for another day)

    • I’m also sorry to say i used to work at Azure and have never seen anything of the like go down, and we were always busy with people from all over the world, (and all colors more importantly!)..
      There is also only one side of the story here. Bookings do get confused (although they should not) especially in peak season,12 A is part of the red Carnation international Hotel group. And i know from first hand experience just how they would not tolerate a situation like this.

      Def blown way out of proportion, (time to put down the racist card )….

  3. This is more of an opinion than facts, I would like to know how they treat their black staff. I’m sure this all blown way out of proportion.

    • most of their staff that is black is from Zimbabwe, and have no senior black manager, i know this venue very well. this is telling of how they treat blacks.

    • You worried about how they treat their black stuff? Racism was also about black people serving the whites. They’ll probably treat them like stuff workers just as long as they’re serving the whites that’s why the issue here was black people dinning with white people.

    • I agree.. Ag people are so highly strung…. he phoned they didn’t have a table, she phoned they say they had a table (ERROR OF THE PERSON ANSWERING THE PHONE CAUSE THERE WAS WAS NO TABLE TO GIVE) They get there no table for him or her, they make a plan and squeeze them in instead of sending them away ( MANAGING THE SITUATION )…. no no no sensationalist media, throw in buzzwords like “White Priviledge” and “White Spaces”, just so that this nobody Martina Philcox can get some publicity for her blog at GunnaGirls…. seriously we have bigger problems than some clown not getting a table…and a ladies deflated and bruised ego….

  4. I work in the hospitality industry and have for many years. Believe it or not the aim is to make money and lots of it. There is no secret agenda to practice racism. The colour of money is all the same, no matter whose handing it to you.

    • Shinaaz, you are very naive my dear, race in the hospitality industry is massive, show me and or share with me top hotels that have GM that are black in the Cape? and black does not mean coloured nor moslem im mean african native black from SA, then come to JHB and see what true transformation is dear.

      • The Table Bay has a black GM. And as someone who works in the tourism industry I can assure you that a hotel such as Twelve Apostles sees their share of extremely wealthy black guests. So turning away a table based on their name or colour of their skin does seem rather unlikely.

  5. I sincerely hope that this incident was an isolated one.
    I can’t even imagine what it must’ve felt like to be treated in such a disgraceful manner.
    Restauranteurs should give thorough training to their (frontline) staff in respect of the required protokol and ettiquette.
    This is petty apartheid… it MUST be eradicated and not tolerated at all!!!

  6. Ryno, a number of waitrons (many of whom are white) report that there is lots of racism towards black staff in the restaurant industry in Cape Town. Brendan, I think the problem in CT is racism towards Black South Africans and not all non-whites (who I admit sometimes even hold the same prejudices towards black South Africans). ag, Azure! I intend to forward this article to my friends and family still in ct, who can decide for themselves whether they will support Azure in future. I agree with the author that we need collective action to weed this sort of behaviour out.

  7. This is bull…why do we shine a light on this when everyday..the blacks who cant make school are getting into top varsities and will be our future doctors,lawyers,etc…But non-blacks are getting screwed in the system….why cant we talk about that rather than a stupid booking. I worked in camps and there is alot of non whites as they can afford it….i think you made this whole thing up and not focusing on south africa’s real issues….

      • I honestly think that skin colour should no longer be a issue, but yet pass rates for certain racial groups is different and that white students have to a much higher pass rate to have a small chance to be accepted especially in the medical department. Why is colour a issue on sport it’s for the nation to support but now we must have more of 1 colour than the other and now it’s no longer who is the best player in that position it’s what colour they are, jobs also are a issue white people suffer due to BEE why can’t we move on over 20 years of democracy and we still think one race should have a better chance than the rest to all up for the loss they lost. Robert mugabe is an appalling human being not because he treats his own people like trash not just white people, racism can only stop once colour in jobs, sport and over all in general stops

    • Reading cannot be your thing Andre, which perhaps indicate your level of education and suggest exactly where you work in Camps Bay. This makes your view of little interest, frankly.

  8. This is so sad. We must continue naming and shaming places and people thar discriminate against others, black or white. As for Azure I will never eat there again. While I love the @12Apostleshotel I will never use their restaurant. I must confess I get the best service at their hotel and Spa. The staff are professional on the hotel side, it might also be an issue of bad management on the restaurant side.

  9. Thank you for exposing the reality of Cape Town. I am one of the victims of this racial prejudice. I reported my incident to CapeTalk 567 on Kieno Kamies Show.

  10. I encourage all my black brothers and sisters not to stay away from places like Azure and 12Apostles Hotel. Let’s flood these places, let’s show them that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. Staying away will give them what they want, let us not do that. We must be in their faces and expose them.

    I salute the author of this article, she is my SHERO of the MONTH.

  11. This comes as no surprise to me….when we make reservations for holiday accommodation on the garden route I have my white fiancé call. I’ve even had to tell them before that we are a mixed race couple so we don’t have any embarrassing issues when we arrive. I must be honest however and say it’s usually only in the garden route and not in Cape Town.

  12. So I have been looking for a place to stay in Cape Town for the last 5 months, sent in many applications but each of them is turned down. My partner and I earn 4 times the rental amount and have good credit histories. The law requires u earn 3 times. Each and every application has been turned away because of “preference”. I always try not to play the race card but when it comes to white spaces its hard not to. Maybe I should just get my white friend to co-sign a lease with us

    • @ Nomz, I have also been having the same issue. We had to get a white person to co-sign in order for us to rent out the place we are currently in. It angers me that we needed to do that in order to get the place, and even then, some of the people were and still are not happy that we are there. It is really sad.

  13. This article is pure Bull.

    As a “black” south African I am a rregular and never ever experienced any form of racial discrimination at the 12.

    CT is one the most cosmopolitan cities in SA. They have tourist from all over the globe.
    I assure u this never happened, and is purely an elaborate fabrication for attention.

    • 1) The fact that you put the word black inbquotation marks is , frankly, quite saddening
      2) how can you ‘ assure’ us that this never happened ? Were you there the time? Were you perhaps listening to the conversations when the bookings were made? So unless you have powers of invisibility and telepathy, you cannot ‘ assure ‘ us of anything regarding this event
      3) Just because it didn’t happen to you, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to them. Perhaps a different set of staff was on duty when you were there.

      • 1. With Gary as a name he needed to put in “black”
        2. Neither was the blogger she was not there either.
        3. It happens, but I agree with “black” Gary, it did not happen this time.

        • Gary. Since you are black only in inverted commas you clearly “don’t see colour”. You are in denial. How can you possibly know that this never happened? The problem is, other people who call it as they see it are interfering with your idea of a perfect world. I see colour. I just don’t judge people , establish relationships or treat people according to it, Some people do.

    • Gary… Take some time to read the article over and over till you understand it. Once it makes sense, you will find that it is not about you.

    • Hi Gary
      I am white and can assure you that it happens in Cape Town. A couple of years back I received a phone call from a friend who so happens to be African. He chuckled before asking me to do him a favour. The favour was simple. He had contacted an agent/landlord to arrange for a viewing for a place that was being offered for rent in Milnerton area. My friend told me that he had been told the place was taken, which he found hard to believe as it had recently been posted on Gumtree. My friend had been on gumtree every hour looking for what was available in the West Coast area. He told me that at the very least, he would be late by 1 hour but no more and that was hardly enough time to arrange a viewing. Generally, a viewing is arranged for a specific day and everyone shows up and then whoever shows interest and pays the deposit has a better chance. He had contacted the agent/landlord and had been informed not that the viewing was full, but that the unit was taken. He thought of calling using a different accent, but thought no one would believe him and he needed an alibi. He did not appraise me of the background, but just asked me if I could call on his behalf and arrange a viewing. I called within 2 minutes of our conversation because I knew in my heart what this was about and I had hoped that I was wrong in my suspicion. In less than 30 seconds, I had a time of viewing. Just to be sure I asked if this was general viewing or was specific to me, as I wanted a different time. I was told that this was the time arranged with the landlord, but if I wanted to bring my wife later, an arrangement can be made. I was really getting angry, but I need to be sure. I hung up and then called my friend to advise him of the time and asked him to call again, in case he had perhaps got connected to the wrong number. He did and got a similar excuse. The place is rented. Because he was calling into a mobile phone, decided to try another telephone and spoke with a different accent. This time, he too got a time, which was exactly the same time as mine and then proceeded in the conversation with a Gwede Mantashe type of accent (he taped the last conversation) and the level of comfort was very easy to distinguish. She tried to warn him that the unit maybe smaller, and the deposit was 3 times the amount. She tried as much to be helpful in a way by warning him against the unit. At this point, he could not hold it together and before he hung up, he told her she was a racist piglet. She hung up

  14. To me it sounds more that the writer of the article wants to score points for being a martyr for black people. Many of my friends of colour have gone to the 12 and never experienced any problems! Even a black gay married couple I know had not been turned away for a romantic evening. The writer needs to be careful in following a struggle mentality in 2015. I do get the impression that there seems to be certain individuals that simply cannot let go off the struggle years and fighting for the cause!

    • Calling them friends of colour just basically explained a lot about your imaginary friends. Very few black people like to be called friends of colour or be the “I have a black friend” for racists who trot these friends out to defend racism

    • I am very black and Zimbabwean. I am a professional person and have money to be where I want to be. I holidayed in George in a very white space. On day two the manager came to me. He needed advise in how to attract people of colour to the joint. He was desperate to have them there to the extent he offered me big discounts if I were to bring groups of black folk there. Honestly speaking even black South Africans have racist in their ranks too. But I love them enough not to dwell on it. But what takes the trophy is a phone call I had recently. I answered in my deep Zimbabwe accent. The caller then said; “Are you a kaffir.” He actually repeated himself. I then said what are you? “I am Indian” came the answer. ” Hey coolie was my retort. Needless to say he quickly hung-up.

  15. Editor’s note: In the original article, we referred blogger Martina Philcox. However, while she blogs under this name, she prefers to be known as Martina Dahlmanns, and we have updated the article to reflect this. The Daily Vox regrets the error.

    *How this is an error, and why should you apologise? If she blogs under that name, then you’re free to call her by that name. Honestly, some people.

  16. There’s a lot of talk about privileged whites. I don’t get to go to Azure. So then that Black family must be privileged as well. Whites are the minority in this country. Do the math, there’s way more privileged blacks in South Africa.

    • Help me do the maths. Because you do not get to go to the Azure and you read about 1 black family that went there, it computes then that there are more privileged “blacks” in South Africa? That may explain your marks in maths and logic

  17. I tried to get a booking at a very popular place this December (I’m white), only to be told that they were fully booked until the end of Feb 2015. I phoned a day or two later and got a booking for that very night no problem. My natural instinct was that there were cancellations which happen all the time and quite suddenly, as opposed to a conspiracy theory against me. I’m not saying that this event was made up or even that there wasn’t any racism involved, but rather that I hope that all avenues of reason were pursued before getting the race card out.

    There is also a cultural thing where black culture can be more ‘vociferous’ and being loud and raucous in public places is more acceptable, whereas this might be against what the restaurant wants to portray its business as to the rest of their target market for the very sake of its survival. Did this restaurant maybe have a string of bad experiences and decided to eliminate this where possible in order to avoid driving out its other customers? I.e. are racially driven policies (ahem! BEE…) actually in the best interest of some businesses because of cultural differences? If race can be used as a proxy for BEE for socio-economic targets by government (under the premise that chances are a black person is economically disadvantaged), then why can’t it be used here for businesses to protect themselves (under the premise that chances are any undesired behavior threatening the business will be from black people)? Rather than justify this type of policy we can see the shortcomings of using race as a proxy for economic targets. Not all blacks are disadvantaged just as not all black people are disruptive. Lots to think about before we have knee-jerk reactions.

    • That in itself is a racist comment. You’re assuming that ALL black people are loud!! I have been around some pretty raucous white people at a restaurant.

      • There is nothing racist about what is said. I find it extremely amusing how whenever black people can’t handle criticism it’s racism. Well let’s turn this around. I have only seen racist remarks from the black people. Even Zuma tried this the other day when he was criticised for his performance as president. I don’t care what colour your skin is. If you treat me with respect I will do the same for you. Stop playing victims. Grow a pair and get on with your life.

    • Amanda. Being loud is not a “black thing”. I have been annoyed by loud people of all races. There is an attitude in South African eateries that blacks should be on their best behaviour in Restaurants. (after all they have let us in right?) Something about a black person laughing their lungs out is more offensive than a white guy doing it. Oh I’m from Swaziland. Half South African . Lived in your country for three years… not coming back.

    • You so ardently defended against what could be termed as “generalization” and almost accused black people of constantly making generalizations about situations. Yet you yourself allowed yourself to make such a nasty generalization by stating that all blacks are raucous!

  18. On top of that they were told to keep their voices down, because “there are other people dining here as well”.

    Interesting, perhaps the attitude was the real reason for being turned away and not the race issue you so quickly jump at. It’s heresay in any event, how do we know you are not just boosting publicity for your blog?

    • White people are not racist especially in Cape Town or rather western cape entirely. All white people agree that this was not racism and the author of this article must have been on drugs to even use such a non existent word in his/her vocabulary . There is no more racism in this country st all according to whites. And the blacks must take that. SA

  19. This blog is sooooo racist all the stories are about how the black are getting done in by! And I am sorry this is so not right!! I am not racist I have black friends and I they have never been treated like this

    • You called a day or two (which is it?) later whereas the turnaround time here was 3 minutes. Even allowing for your suggestion that the table may have become available, how do you explain it disappearance the next day? Have you ever experienced a racist incident? If not, you would not really know what it feels like because you would have no clue.
      As to your comment about vociferous blacks, I am curious whether you did a study of this, or basically are using your racist education to arrive at such a racist assumption. I mean, really!!!! Can you pass your ignorance around as fact? Its customers being the less vociferous white people? And you do not consider that a tad racist?

  20. The same happens at Asooka in Kloof Street. I have been denied access whilst my companion who happened to be white is let in. As you rightly put, we simple dismiss it as I did and take our business elsewhere where it is appreciated.

    I agree, its time to take on the fight.

  21. To quote Stephen Fry: There is not enough vomit in the world for the 12 Apostles Hotel. I mean, really? In South Africa today?

    • Oh, I sure do believe this story, a couple of days ago I was in Cape Town at the Mondiall Kitchen Bar and the same type of behavior happened. Even the black waiters didn’t want to serve us, but one very gentle soul decided to serve us and later told me the story and apparently the white owner was surprised that I managed to pay such a high bill and gave a generous tip. Yes am black and very blessed you can call it privileged… My status on FB about two days ago was on Cape Town racism against blacks, it exist people, deny it all you want..

  22. I don’t believe this story. It sounds a little made up. Why would a restaurant not take a booking for people, and risk their image being tainted. This whole story smells like a lie

    • Why not? Wasn’t there a group of people (though many of them fought against it too) who established and practiced apartheid for decades? Why are you setting the bar so low for them? If they were capable of apartheid, why wouldn’t they be capable of things that are more subdued like the situation described in the article?

  23. Its sad how people choose to discount other people’s experiences..we all deal differently to what we experience, sometimes ignore, sometimes move on.. sometimes fight…whichever way it doesn’t nullify the experience…maximum respect / kudos to the people who choose to expose this incident, its one too many!!

  24. Of course The 12 Apostles would deny that any racism took place on their premises. It doesn’t look good for their public image to accept that something went wrong and they didn’t deal with the problem swiftly. I am not concerned about that. What I am concerned with is that they actively deal with negative attitudes amongst their staff just as they would deal with a thief or any other unsavory character. Discipline is the response and acknowledgement is key.

    Also let’s not lie and say money has no colour, to most, in a society where discrimination and bigotry are ingrained, it matters who is paying you, and who is entering your establishment.

    It’s not so much about the money as it is about denying different people groups equal access. Racism is so subtle and is easily intstitutionalised. Those who are denying racism only do so because they haven’t personally experienced it (in that context).

    Let’s not deny people the dignity of having suffered a terrible experience that occurred due to racism. It happened to them, so let’s not make them fools in defense of our own prejudices. Let’s look at it objectively. Racism is shameful and very real, a history of racism (overt) is only evidence that there are likely remnants of it loitering today, whether it’s a single racist individual or a collective, the truth is it must be challenged, just as any lie would be challenged.

    Take it or leave it, the truth remains the truth and whether we deny it or accept, that will not change it’s essence.

  25. Reading this, one can see that they eventually did get in, and then following the treatment they received inside, were then offered drinks and food on the house by the management as an apology, which was subsequently denied.

    Corrective actions were attempted but the persons in question denied such hospitality for the reasons that, and this is just my opinion, this article would have been fruitless should they have accepted any form of apology.

    We will only ever know one side to this story.

    • Not really true. The GM, Michael Nel did respond. Here is the thing about accepting bribes. You are expected to shut (or obliged) even if principle dictate that you need to tell others. So, refusing the bribe is more of a sign of principle, but when principle is not in your vocabulary, it is very hard imagine acting in a similar manner. Try it sometime, you maybe surprised by how better you feel

    • Jono, Corrective action refers to steps/actions that are taken to ensure that the unfortunate incident that not happen again. Being allowed in and offered complementary food/drinks is not corrective action but merely a desperate attempt to mute the offended family. Thankfully, they declined. Racism is mean and selfish, it should be dealt with squarely.

  26. Not surprising. Have you ever heard a group of blacks talk to each other? They can be sitting a mere 30cm away from one another and be screaming like the person is across the room.
    Annoying, frustrating and will spoil a night out for other people. There is no tact or consideration for others.
    Stick to the shebeens, and vote anc.

    • Yeah… i totally hear you man. Especially us black girls *sigh*. Pity you live in south africa on the continent of africa huh? Pity this African country is spralling with Africans who exhibit this obviously foreign behaviour of “loud talking”… huh? Shem… heres an idea.. if you dont like a africans or cant stand “their” behaviour maybe you should try another continent… Europe maybe. Thats a good lil racist.

    • @Rabbitman.Yeah… i totally hear you man. Especially us black girls *sigh*. Pity you live in south africa on the continent of africa huh? Pity this African country is spralling with Africans who exhibit this obviously foreign behaviour of “loud talking”… huh? Shem… heres an idea.. if you dont like a africans or cant stand “their” behaviour maybe you should try another continent… Europe maybe. Thats a good lil racist.

      • @Nomvula, if whites/indians exhibit the same behaviour, my comments would be directed to them. But they don’t – it’s blacks who do.
        I notice that you do not even try to attempt to debate the fact of screaming groups of blacks but merely resort to telling me that I should leave the country.
        Sure, you are an African from Africa, but there is no need to act like an animal.

        PS. Europe is lovely. I’m on my way out there.

        • @Rabbitman – as a citizen of Europe I’m asking you please not to come here because, unfortunately, we already have enough racists and, frankly, another of your ilk is the last thing this lovely continent needs. Having spent a holiday in Cape Town recently I, a white person, noticed how spending time in some areas (Camps Bay and Constantia, for example) of the city one could easily believe that the majority of the population in that city and the country was white. It certainly reflects that, unfortunately, very little has been done to reverse economic inequality – despite the constant whining of the privileged few, mostly whites. As for your complaint about the loudness of some restaurant patrons, why don’t you just dine at home? You’d be doing both them and yourself a favour.

    • Its assholes like you that are not needed in RSA…. Lord forbid I find you, I’ll employ you to wash my cars, underwear, dogs and rubbish..
      And yes we’ll vote ANC and we’ll rule till Jesus comes back

    • Rabbitman, you are naive, short-sighted and obvioulsy lived far too long behind the Boere Gordyn, travel to Spain, Italy, Greece and tell me how those whites communicate within 10 cm of each other, now it could be they have poor genes, or they not pure whites …If u could spend a bit of time reading about international cultures u would so realise its not about being black its global, sadly you my dear lad have spent far too much time in small spaces. We cannot help your misfortune of poor tolerance and lack of globe trotting, read read and read some more u will so learn, I guess then the chinesse are too black for u for the spit everywhere or next u will say they share a gene with those poor whites from wyterbach..gosh u are pittyfull. Sad thing for u is u have nowhere else to go, let alone afford to leave for better fortunes for u are and will never be better than what u are

      • Oh my dear Sonele, what you don’t know is that I’ve worked all over the world, hold an additional citizenship, together with offshore bank accounts.
        So I can pretty much go wherever I please.
        You and your ANC can enjoy this country, darling.

    • Rabbit brain. You should go to Europe. It’s one of the few places which are quite accommodating of disgrace and shallowness like that of yours.

    • May the good Lord bless your soul u r so ignorant and no one can help u,u are responsible of rescuing yourself in your misery.

  27. I have been living in CPT for 3 years and the racism is on another level. It is not the confrontational, aggressive type you would encounter in Pretoria East or Bloemfontein, it is subtle. Fake smiles, being policed whilst walking around shops, getting long uncomfortable stares in restaurants. And the “liberal” white Capetonians are the worst. Constantly treating their black friends like children and having the I know best attitude.

    Places like JHB whites tolerate blacks, not in CPT. It is time my people we start flooding this place. We are here to stay whether they like it not.

  28. Lol at all the non-black people posting here claiming it’s all blown out of proportion or that they don’t believe it ever happened. No wonder this problem is here to stay!

  29. My husband and I were in Cape Town this holiday, celebrating the Christmas holidays and our anniversary. This being our first time in Cape Town we’d been warned by several of our friends to expect to be treated “differently from white people”.
    On Boxing Day we decided to have breakfast at V&A waterfront. The waiting staff was pleasant and the general atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful. Towards the end of our meal I discovered 2strands of hair on my bacon. I was mortified. I called the waiter who was also disappointed and apologized profusely. He then left to call the manager who handles “issues like these”.
    We sat there for over 5 minutes only for the waiter to come back and inform us the manger couldn’t come … Imagine our surprise. You would think in a situation like that the restuarant would have the decency to send over a person with authority to ask how they can make this “ok”. I was very upset but I kept calm and asked for the bill, paid, tipped and left. I know if I were white, the manager would have come to apologize and maybe even offer us another breakfast coupon.
    I could have easily made a scene and refused to pay but that would only just make us seem ghetto. Needless to say, that experience ruined my Boxing Day and I’ll never eat at a mug n bean ever again.
    20 years later we are still second class citizens.

    • Oh please! What a crock of shyte!
      Let me guess, you walked out of the restaurant and stubbed your toe – this happened because you are black??
      You cannot blame everything that happens to you on your race.

      You already have the jobs and the money of this country, stop whining.
      The rest of us are dealing with murderers, rapists and hijackers.

    • Next time arrive with guns and place them on the table….and asked to be served by a white waitron….. Load the gun every time they come take an order or bring food….

      Blacks need to stop being diplomatic, and fight back now…. Now I value Robert Mugabe…. Stop massaging racism fight it back with fire…

  30. Why am I not surprised…a few years ago we were called Kaffirs at New Lands Stadium @ a Rugby match with my colleagues. We stood up for ourselves and told those 2 racist bastards where to get off. We caused a scene and everybody who cared to know and hear what was going on walked away knowing it was not cool anymore in this country to call each other derogatory names. This is my country too and hell will freeze first if anyone thinks they are more superior than me or call me Kaffir. You have to stand up for yourself or how else are you going to fix the problem? Talk about it all you want and trust me we all hope for a racist free society,but some people will NEVER learn, look at what is going on in the USA right now. We don’t need that in this country, we’ve come too far.

  31. I listened to the complaint on radio and something wasn’t right. The person under whose name the table was booked had no knowledge of the booking, yet Martina apparently made the booking, sounded confusing, it just didn’t add up.
    But it also sounds plausible that they felt treated in this manner, unacceptable if so.
    I’m going 50/50 on this one. I guess two sides to the story but….
    I’m a white guy and I take Black, Coloured, Indian and Mixed Race girlfriends to the 12 Apostles Leopard Lounge often (sounds a bit silly to put it this way since what I actually mean is that I’m a guy and I take girlfriends to the Leopard Lounge but for purpose of the context I’ll put it this way).
    Never had a problem. Not a glare or a stare and for that matter anywhere else we go too, even at Mzoli’s.
    If you are a human being and you live on earth go wherever you want whenever you want to I say and ignore those unfortunate souls who may still be chained by the practice of separatism. In fact feel sorry for them.
    Lets just all enjoy each other and our stark or subtle differences.
    At least well done that this incident has raised debate and hopefully greater acceptance of each other is the fruit from all of this.

    • Must be easy for you being the chaperone for your mixed race or black friends. I am sure they appreciate being used to justify how tolerant you are. If I heard a friend of mine using the line “I am not racist, I have black friends” I would tell him I no longer see us as friends. Fact remains that the people are talking of being treated differently in a restaurant (not lounge) and were a group of only black individuals and they needed someone like you to get them into the restaurant. Someone who claims to have black friends would understand the issue, unless you select the sort of friends who are only paraded around to prove to everyone else you are not racist

  32. As someone who has spent the last 15 years booking top end hotels and restaurants for international and local clients, I can tell you that:
    1) Restaurants make mistakes. Had one of the very best in the winelands get a booking for 8 wrong just last week even with written confirmations. Got there with no table and no space and made no effort to help. DISASTER! (white, rich, international clients)
    2) Some of the best have gaps open up the the day before or the same day with cancellations.
    3) In busy times, too many people have access to the res book. Good restaurants keep strict times and good controls on that book. Letting that slip is a recipe for a disaster.
    4) In season in Cape Town, some places are booked out 6 months in advance, regardless of who you are. Taking it personally isn’t worth the effort.
    5) NO decent hotel in the cape has the slightest hint of being exclusionary based on anything except budget! So long as you can pay the (over-infalted prices) you are welcome. Have never seen anything to contrary booking Nigerians, African-Americans, Indians, Chinese. Smaller B&Bs – maybe different.
    6) Bad service is bad service. It happens everywhere, to all types. Fixing it is a skill that a place like the 12 Apostles should have waxed.

    7) What constitutes a booking at Azure. Most of the smart places want a booking in writing with CC details to confirm and will cancel without that stuff returned.
    Azure has an online booking platform that has no race box to tick. They also look VERY full all the way through Jan, with not even a table for 2 if you scratch around in there now.

    Racism is around, it is subtle, it is real – but I am not seeing anything here but someone who messed up the res book!
    Did they look the next night, the next week, the same day in Feb? Bookings have funny way of getting on the wrong page.

    • Read the article, and listen to the 702 interview before commenting. Here are the facts
      1. A black man books a restaurant and everything is going well. Space is available for 6 people art the right time.
      2. Black man gives his name as Mpofu to the person assisting with the booking and then suddenly the place is fully booked.
      OK, so far, it is possible in any online system with different people accessing it.
      3. He smells a rat and immediately contacts a friend of his daughter’s who is white.
      4. The while lady immediately gets a booking only 3 minutes after Mr Mpofu was turned down. Again, this is possible (though we are testing boundaries here)
      5. After initially debating whether to go or not, they do go the next day
      6. Upon arrival, the booking disappears once again, despite the fact two members of the party were already seated. Again, possible that another error happened
      7. So, the Mpofus once again played their white privilege card and contacted Martina who called angry and the restaurant after telling the Mpofus, there was no such reservation, offered them a secluded room with complimentary meal
      8. They turned both down and a table was found in the main dining area where they ate their meal in peace and even got good service from the waitron
      Individually, these series of errors do not denote racism, but when combined there is a pattern. Yes, if you have never experienced subtle racism, it is easy to miss these out.
      However, while it is nice to learn of your experience, it has nothing to do with this particular experience

      • In the absence of recordings of the actual telephone conversations, there can be no “facts”. How do you know who is telling the truth? How do you know that the those telephone conversations even took place? it seems very strange to me that someone who is told that ‘yes, we can accommodate your table of 6’, then after he gives his name, is told ‘no, we are fully booked’, does not then immeiately ask how that could have happened? I think most people would have asked that question. If that conversation did indeed take place as related by Ms. Mpofu, how long after did her friend, Martina Dahlmann, secure a booking? 5 mins, 10 mins, longer? And isn’t it feasible that a table could have become available in that time? How do we know for sure that Ms, Dahlmann even booked a table. Because she says so? The restaurant say they had no record of that booking. Possibly because that booking was never made?

        In her blog ‘Gunna Girls’, Ms. Dahlmann writes of the alleged racism in highly emotive language, throwing in racial stereotypes to support her story, under the title “Using my white privilege”. Was she there to read the body language of the restaurant staff because that is what she seems to base her assumptions on?

        What possible motive could the 12 Apostles / Azure restaurant have had to subject Ms. Mpofu and her family to the kind of racist treatment she claims, bearing in mind they have a reputation to maintain and have to accommodate guests representing many different nationalities and cultures? Why the Mpofu family and not other black guests who were there at the time? If they had a racist policy to deny black people access to their facilities, then how do you explain the favourable comments by other black people on their facebook TL about their wonderful experience at that institution. Would their black staff not have noticed such racial discrimination and spoken out?

        For these reasons I find it difficult to take Ms, Mpofu’s and Martina Dahlmann’s claims at face value, also because of what I have seen on Ms. Dahlmann’s facebook page which leads me to believe she may have a particular agenda to attack institutions of ‘whiteness’ , of which the 12 Apostles may be a symbol (of course, there I may be making an entirely incorrect assumption).

        We cannot possibly know the “facts” behind these claims unless we heard the conversations and were present to witness what really happened in that restaurant. It could also be feasible that Ms. Mpofu perceived real racism, but in circumstances where there was no racism involved. Or perhaps she and her family were subjected to real racism.

        False accusations of racism are damaging because they cast doubt when incidences of real racsim happen.

        It seems that people have made up their minds here according to their personal perspectives because there is no factual evidence of what really happened, It’s all just hearsay.

  33. I understand, and yes I agree racism is wrong on so many levels.

    Nothing will change our current reality unless we become the change we want to see.

    We are such radically different people and skin color is just the tip of the ice berg, but somewhere we need to start building a society we can all feel welcome and safe in.

    Here’s to 2015! Be the change you want to see.

    Walala Wasala

  34. I can’t understand why people don’t believe this. A similar thing happened to my boyfriend and I in St Lucia. We were parked in the restaurants nearly empty parking lot, but he called to book a table. After he gave his name, he was told the place was full. I smelled a rat and called back immediately. I asked if they could accommodate a table for 10 for dinner. They said we could come over straight away. We could have gone in and for dinner, but decided to take our money elsewhere. This happens in South Africa people. Why on earth don’t you believe it’s possible!!!!

    • Raylene – St Lucia IS racist… big time! Always has been with some serious wildebeeste running the show.
      12 Apostles – simply isn’t. They run a top show across 3 of the best properties in SA with a global clientele of all shades.

      • How do you define racism? I have a friend of mine who is a tourguide and translater. He speaks French and has a variety of clients from the not so well off from his homeland in France or even Mauritius and the very well off Parisians or those from Quebec. He goes into different hotels and restaurants with the groups and no problems are ever experienced with the Parisians, Quebacans or even the poor French folks and yet the moment the skin tone gets darker, problems start emerging including last minunte cancellations and sometimes very unfriendly service. Also, happens from the other side to his staff who are all black (bus driver, etc). Some of the worst culprits have been hotel restaurants (though his groups dont do the 12 Apostles). They do St Lucia and Cape Town and his view is that he prefers St Lucia than Cape Town when he has a darker group

  35. Hi all. I wasn’t gonna comment on the article but after reading the comments I felt compelled to do so.

    I am a foreign national and have been living in Cape Town for ~1 year now.

    A close friend of mine, a woman of colour, warned me about how racist Cape Town is some time ago. Being white (european), and never having been affected by racism, I thought she was exaggerating and blowing the whole thing out of proportion due to some complexes she may still harbour towards the white community. That was until I experienced it myself first hand.

    So there was this girl (late 20’s english saffa girl from Cape Town) I’d gone on a couple of dates with and things were looking dandy. She then made a remark about how ‘the country is going down to ruins because of these blacks and coloureds’. I let that one slide because I actually liked the girl and thought I could, further down the line, influence her opinion on race. Long story short, she broke up with me because I have in the past “been with a non white chick”.

    This made me sick to my stomach. When I called her on it and said that she was exhibiting a blatantly racist behaviour she said that I was in the minority and that this kind of thinking will get me more enemies than friends…

    I noticed a lot of the commentators here tried to downplay what happened to the native african family at Azure. I think I know where they’re coming from because I used to think just like them. I was aware that racism still lingered under the surface, but that it was not prevalent and that could only be found in isolated pockets of society. Unfortunately, I’m starting to realise that that’s not the case and that the old paradigm in social dynamics has not radically been changed..

    I will wrap up my comment with a message to my native african brothers and sisters (for the record, these include the coloured community of CPT too). You guys are the most forgiving people in the whole world! Do not change that! I can’t think of any other people who could find the will to forgive after what your ancestors have gone through. The rest of the world admires that about you! This is a unique place and it belongs to you and anyone who chooses to live in it and embrace the new South Africa!

    NKOSI SIKELEL’ iAfrika!

  36. I got this treatment in Knysna, Drydock Restaurant. My family and I walked out of the restaurant. I will never go back to that restaurant again. I find it sad that restaurants treat people like dogs.

  37. Reposting an article that was previously posted…. not cool at all. Your rankings and the bloggers rankings are negatively affected by this!

  38. I do identify with this kind of treatment meted out to chocolate skinned people. I must commend the the pink skinned friend for the role played in exposing racism There are many others like her. Goodness attracts goodness. She will get her reward, but more of those who were historically privileged and who KNOW deep down that they are riding on that in their lives need to change their paradigm concerning the “Other”

    I agree that most pink skinned people are in denial. That is why they want to wish away the clear disadvantaging that took place in this instance. This very denial is what has kept racism going. More historically excluded people should speak out and perhaps it will become clear that there are many incidents of overt and subtle racism going on.

    Pink skinned people are in denial that:
    1) they have racist attitudes nurtured in them right from childhood. They feel superior to people with non-pink skin even if the non-pink person is older. have more social status and academic/professional qualification than them
    2) deep down, they have been privileged by the unfortunate global history of injustice.

    It is sad that after 20 years of real democratic governance in South Africa nothing has changed except the fact that most racists have learned to practice subtle, covert racism.
    At some institutions, they have voted out the notion and principle of transformation, claiming that the notion of affirmative action is reverse racism! But how can there be social justice when the previously disadvantaged have to compete at the starting line, with those who have gone far in the tournament?

    The playing fields are simply not level because of “white privilege”. Catching up, for the vast majority of chocolate skinned people, is only achievable by doing harder work than their pink skinned counterparts, as they continue to face stiff opposition and receive NONE OF THE SUPPORT given to their pink skinned counterparts.

    In academia when you talk of bridging the gaps of disadvantaging in order to level the playing fields, they say you want to lower the standards! What standards? The so-called standards can be maintained by admitting the previously excluded students to the advantaged institutions and providing the support needed to strengthen the weak education base they historically had. Instead of providing the vitally needed support to overcome the disadvantaging of inferior or poor education and enhance learning, The historically privileged, who are still being privileged cry, “foul revers racism

    You may say it has been 20 years, so they must get their act together. How can the damage done over centuries be unravelled in 20 years? The teachers who are teaching now are products of that disadvantaging!!!

    Can racism be tackled? Only if it is calmly, rationally, openly but FIRMLY confronted, wherever it exist, regardless of whether such an action is seen as the ranting of “an angry black”. Mr Mandela suffered for freedom. He relentlessly spoke out and was heard.

    I use “pink skinned and chocolate skinned” here, to describe people referred to as white or black because NO HUMAN BEING IS WHITE AND NONE IS BLACK!!!
    The shameful historical naming of people as white or black was the obnoxious tool employed to advantage the people of EUROPEAN and disadvantage people of AFRICAN origin. Yet those whose skin colours are in between are referenced by their locality (Indian, Asian, Chinese, Japanese, etc).

  39. So according to white people, racism is a figment of black people’s imagination. Whenever a racist story is shared, 99% of white are pretty sure the story cant possible be true. If it is proven in court when the racist is found guilty then its an isolated incident that is not worth mentioning because it happens so rarely, its not news worthy.

  40. Born in a very “rainbow nation” family I’ve had dinner with my black, Asian, colored, Indian, Muslim and white friends / family before and I’ve never had any problems. #justsaying

  41. This is exactly what is wrong with South Africa and I don’t even want to call myself a South African. (I’m a white guy with many friends from different racial backgrounds around the world). We should be standing together making South Africa a better place but instead we are bickering about what is Black and what is White. We all are different but we all are South Africans. Arguing like this is exactly how the next civil war will break out.

  42. Doesn’t surprise me. I lived in Cape Town for two years and while, on the surface, everyone is accepting of each other, I had a few experiences that proved otherwise.
    One that hurt and still stands out in my mind is how a guy I was seeing had untagged himself in photos of us on social media. He became unavailable when I asked him about it, making excuses to talk another time. I let it go and moved on.
    Only months later did a friend of his explain his weird but not uncommon behaviour. The friend told me that the reason for the social cut-off from me was because he plays rugby for a very successful varsity rugby team. They had their fines meeting shortly after the untagging incident – a fines meeting is where people “fine” each other for doing things they consider to be wrong, silly, irresponsible etc. It’s generally just fun and games and drinking ensues as your punishment for the fine.
    According to the friend, I happened to be the subject of a fine for this guy, and his removal of a link between us meant there was no evidence for him to be fined. The friend said that anyone on the team who’d hooked up with a non-white girl got punishment. Bear in mind this is not the 1st team (they had a few black/coloured players) but one of the junior teams, just in case anyone starts the “But all the teams are multiracial” argument. And for anyone else thinking it could be for other reasons like looks or brains, I’m an engineering student and a model.
    The rugby player in question had apologised to me about a year later, out of the blue, for what he simply called “the way things went”. Sad but true.
    Pure racism, and in the supposedly-open-minded new generation.

    • What you said is true, I even know of guys getting fined for dating fat chicks, drinking the wrong drinks, wearing the wrong name brands and hanging out at the wrong clubs, that is just the way things went. Thanks for making it a racist thing.

  43. I’m not commenting on the articles specifically but more as a general response to this page, including the comments. I worked as a waitress for 7 years from my late teens into early 20’s and worked at a variety of restaurants throughout CT, mostly upmarket. I cannot speak for the managers of these restaurants except to say that the majority of restaurant managers & often owners too are absolute psychos; over-worked, underpaid, anti-social, sometimes sociopathic, drugged-up psychos and certainly do not represent the population at large…

    But I can speak for the waiters. I am not excusing or condoning obvious racism, such as the waitress in the story, but waiters know which side their bread is buttered, it is a JOB and money is the most NB thing.

    South African black customers, ON AVERAGE (before anyone gets on a high horse) tip badly. That and that alone is the main reason why waiters of any colour are reluctant to serve black tables and do not make them priority customers. I’m talking 5% tips, often worse… It is not exclusive to black customers, coloured customers are also not generous with their tips. Neither are the Brits, Australians and most Europeans. And I’m afraid to say that at times (not always, I have served some lovely customers in this category) the wealthy black customers can be absolutely appalling in their treatment of servers, particularly in a party environment. I don’t know if these particular people treat all service people as sub-human, or if they get some kind of kick out of being served by a young white female, but most of my worst tables to date were wealthy black groups.

    So that is my opinion from the waiter side of things. I’m not saying racism is not rife in the CT hospitality industry (and definitely the rental market) but I am asking you to consider that often there is more than meets the eye in your server’s attitude towards you.

  44. I really find these complaints by blacks about ‘white spaces’ disgusting and pathetic. For me they perpetuate a sense of inferiority. This is, blacks can only rely on these racist outlets for their recreation and entertainment and cannot create their own entertainment empires where they can dine and wine with dignity.

    I sometimes feel it’s more about being amongst whites than being within these nice places because some would have the nerve to say this place is no longer nice because its now frequented mostly by blacks. That is a black person saying.

    Go build your own!

  45. I am an ex-pat living wliving in SA for the past 14 years. I experience my white privilege all the time – both in KZN and in CT. Meaning I have seen the way I am treated, differing from non-whites. Service that is more prompt, polite and attentive – than what I observe being given to non-whites. “White privilege” has nothing to do with who does/does not hold the wealth – it is treatment and opportunity afforded to whites, that is sometimes blatant and other times subtle in it’s difference from treatment given to non-whites. (An earlier post conflated majority population, BEE and privilege) The story in this post sounds completely believable to me, based on my experiences here in SA.

  46. All I know for sure is what I have experienced, and what my loved ones have experienced.

    I’m white, from another country, and living in Cape Town. My girlfriend is black, from another country, and living in Cape Town.

    Last year she was out with her father. My girlfriend was adopted and her father is white. Along with them were her father’s coworkers – all white. She sat down at a restaurant with them as they were all, my girlfriend included, working at a trade show at CTICC together.
    The waitress came by and gave everyone a menu – except for my girlfriend.
    The waitress came back and took everyone’s drink order – except for my girlfriend.
    The waitress brought the drinks and took food orders from everyone – except for my girlfriend.
    At this point she started crying and her father raised a hell of a stink. The waitress was forced to apologize, and even then it was half-hearted.

    Another time, my girlfriend was looking for a new apartment. She walked into an agency in Sea Point as she liked the area. As soon as she walked in the desk clerk told her: “We only rent expensive apartments here.”
    My girlfriend left, crying. She now lives in a 2 bedroom apartment on the beach, as well as in my apartment in the CBD as we share the two. Together, we have more money per month than any three people sitting behind the desk at that agency.

    Then there’s what happens when we go out and I just look at people. I’m a professional writer. It is my job and privilege to observe people and record how they behave. Every single time we go out together, a well dressed white man and a pretty younger black woman (the age gap is only 4 years, but she has aged well) I catch someone giving use a dirty look when we’re just sitting and having a normal conversation.

    The overt racism from the first two examples hurts me greatly. I love my girlfriend very much and what hurts her, hurts me. What scares me is what is what unspoken, lurking, hate is brewing in the hearts of all those who will give us a look, and quietly voice their distaste to those they are with.

    AND I COULD GO ON. The white woman who wants people to stop talking about apartheid because it’s over, but hates that her brother is dating a Coloured woman. The Afrikaner who likes having a Coloured friend around so “he has someone to blame when things go missing.” The whispers sent my way of “I’m not racist, but don’t go there. Too many black people.”

    I love you, Cape Town. But there is some work we have to do if this is going to last.

  47. Cape Town is about the most immature city anywhere. It’s not that those little white brats mean to be rasict, they are just ignorant and shallow. I know, I lived there for 6 years. Some are really sweet and Cape Town is probably the only place where you get “sweet” racists. That’s how out of touch they are. Challenge their Cape Town identity and most of them quiver like blossoms in the breeze. They’ll leave the situation asap and put their necks back in the sand. Sadly many “coloured” people are damaged there so I can well imagine they would be racist to our black south african brothers and sisters too. Most capetonians are not used to professional self-actualised black people and so they instintively treat them like the maid. Most capetonians are ever so polite to their maids. They just don’t give a shit that they go back to tin shanties, 1.5hrs taxi ride and 35% of the peanuts they pay them away. That said, black friends have said they love visiting the cape and they just ignore all that BS (which they confirm exists) because they enjoy CT’s charms irrespective. It’s sad there isn’t more of a push within advertising and film and hospitality to change the dynamic. If the industries in the city had any self-respect they’d formulate their own affirmative policies and spread the power but they don’t. It wouldn’t enter their heads. The day I see white people marching in the CBD of behalf of their brothers and sisters living in squalor on the flats is the day I go back to Cape Town. I avoid it like the plague and recommend to any wary black people to visit the garden route instead where people are way more relaxed. They will meet and greet you with genuine interest and don’t give a shit if you’re loud or broke as long as you’re having a good time and are cool to everyone else.

    • You seem to know so many Capetonians so very well, the most intimate details of our lives. All +- 3,000,000 of us. What a shame I don’t know you 🙂

  48. Ag people are so highly strung and feeble…. he phoned they didn’t have a table, she phoned they say they had a table (ERROR OF THE PERSON ANSWERING THE PHONE CAUSE THERE WAS WAS NO TABLE TO GIVE) They get there no table for him or her, they make a plan and squeeze them in instead of sending them away ( MANAGING THE SITUATION )…. no no no sensationalist media, throw in buzzwords like “White Priviledge” “White Spaces”, just so that this nobody Martina Philcox can get some publicity for her blog at GunnaGirls…. seriously we have bigger problems than some clown not getting a table and a silly woman having a bruised ego …

  49. I live in Kzn and am a proud brown skinned woman. I’ve visited CT a number of time and it is the one province in South Africa where I constantly feel that I am brown skinned! The racism is very subtle but overwhelming.

    I do believe this story as I have also experienced similar even in KZN and more so in St Lucia. South Africa’s rainbow nation theory is about to crash sadly. More and more people are realizing that we have been living a lie, the pink skinned South Africans are very angry at the brown skinned people, this cannot remain contained any longer. This anger I have witnessed even in the workplace, and I work for a big international corporate. For a new and true reconciliation to take place, there must be robust engagement be it a discussion or a fight, but feelings need to be expressed and acknowledged. Unfortunately in South African true reconciliation has not taken place which is another reason why pink skinned South Africans can get away with such behaviour!

    I await the day that the rainbow nation realizes that there is no rainbow after all. The previously privileged are still in control and the majority remains under priviledged. I pray that our country recovers afterwards for the sake of our children. Any anger that is harboured will eventually find its way out, and the longer the period it harboured, the more violent it is likely to cause.

    Nkosi sikelela iAfrica!

  50. Well, just a few thoughts: The receptionist may have been incompetent and wasn’t aware of how full the restaurant was (this happens often in my experience). Or she took the booking but didn’t write it in the book. Next day, another receptionist comes in and works from the booking information she had. When there was no room for them, the manager tried to accommodate them (I have been a restaurant manager and that is the protocol). Perhaps the family was too loud. Just loud.Perhaps the waitress was in a foul mood for some reason and took it out on them and told them to be quiet. All of these possibilities have nothing to do with race,incidentally…

    • I remain convinced that the second call went to the hotel front desk, NOT the restaurant reservation, and that person offered to make the reservation (with no access to the res book and with no authority) and dropped the ball.
      Azure sends automatic email and sms of booking confirmations and that simply never happened to the “white” reservation – an indication that no real res was ever made. I would be interested to hear from the person who made the booking as to how that conversation went down.

      Just had another near screw up today with a top seafood restaurant in the waterfront. International clients – booked 12 Nov for this week, in writing, reservation is listed for 2, not 8 in their book!

      This is why I check and double check bookings EVERY SINGLE TIME!

  51. To side track from the hospitality industry for a few minutes. Two years ago my 7 year old daughter attended a predominantly white kindergarten in Durbamville. She was oblivious to colour. People with white skins were milky, brown skins chocolate and her skin tone well, peachey We are a proudly coloured family. She regularly told me that she was not allowed to play with boys even though she wanted to because her other girlfriends played with them. A 5 year old white boy told her that coloured girls are not allowed to play with them. She can home to ask me what coloured means. After all the work we put into teaching her that colour/race doesn’t matter. What makes me mad is that this little boy heard these words at home which means that his parents are my age, 37, and sadly racism is still rife in our SA. But, I haven’t given up hope. SA is mine and yours. Let’s teach our kids differently.

  52. This is all so silly… I get highly irritated with this black an white business…. We as south african citizens are all guilty of this… As we allow this to happen…

    White, black, coloured, Indian an what ever other skin colour we have out in our country… We all do this to each other… So its so pointless to blame back or white or coloured people… Its all of us treating each other this way…

    Change starts with one person… At the end of the day you can only control how you react to a situation… Not the next person…

    If we all focus on how we treat each other then it would make a change… Stop blaming one another as it solves absolutely nothing…

    Have a good day

  53. This is all so silly… I get highly irritated with this black an white business…. We as south african citizens are all guilty of this… As we allow this to happen…

    White, black, coloured, Indian an what ever other skin colour we have out in our country… We all do this to each other… So its so pointless to blame back or white or coloured people… Its all of us treating each other this way…

    Change starts with one person… At the end of the day you can only control how you react to a situation… Not the next person…

    If we all focus on how we treat each other then it would make a change… Stop blaming one another as it solves absolutely nothing…

    Have a good day guys…

  54. Wow, I am shocked. My husband and I have been to Azure Restaurant in Camps Bay a few times and have not experienced the racism you described.

    My husband and I are coloured and when we where there I saw other couples of colour, coloured as well as black.

    I booked my birthday there, a table for 16 people which I changed a number of times before finally arriving at 10 people.

    We were treated beautifully as guests and as well as specially because it was my birthday given a plate engraved in chocolate with my name.

    Your article just goes to show that you just never know when staff at an establishment like that will turn racist. ….

  55. This is not the 12 Apostles I know. No doubt racism happens in Cape Town. It sadly happens everywhere. But, I’m finding it highly unlikely that this article is completely objective, having experienced nothing of the sort at this venue.

  56. Before I make a decision on whether I believe this story I need to ask a few questions:
    1. Has the lady in question ever tried to book a place, but it is fully booked only to try later and there is a spot? Happened to me less than a month ago, actually I tried to book and they were full, then arrived unannounced and a spot was available. Racists for not having a spot when I phoned?
    2. The white hero that made the booking, did she pronounce her poor black friend’s name correctly when she made the booking or did she book it in her name? I am sure the management at a restaurant would be skeptical if I showed up and said I booked a table under Radebe (not pronounced with a R)
    3. Before you accused them of being racist did you first establish the facts and not the single story (Watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on TED) of what really happened?
    4. Would you not agree that prior to your friends even going to the restaurant they had determined that the hotel was racist?
    5. The 2 friends that arrived earlier and were seated, were they seated at a table for 2 or a table for 6?
    6. As the restaurant does not allow blacks to visit their establishment why has no-one ever said anything about this until you came along and saved the day?
    7. Did your friends say that their were only whites in the restaurant at the time of this terrible experience?
    8. Was there tables open in the restaurant that they were not allowed to sit at?

    I could go on, but I think I have made my point.
    I would like to add that it was not your white privilege that saved the day, but rather your white guilt that makes it necessary for you to fight battles that do not exist.

    As I have seen that you blog under 2 names maybe consider adding Don Quixote as a third..

  57. I have noticed that since the DA took over government in the Western Cape, and particularly in the past year or so, there has been a substantial increase in reports in the media and also social media supporting the “Cape Town is racist” meme. Many of these claims (on social media) are purely subjective, eg. “fake smiles”, “being stared at”, “He/She looked at me as if … ” where racism is perceived based purely on body language. I’m not denying that real racism occurs but all such claims must be investigated from all possible angles because false claims of racism are damaging and serve to distract from real issues, Some claims of racism in Cape Town are genuine, but incidents of racism occur all over South Africa, not just in Cape Town. The ANC are unable to attack the DA on service delivery in their WC election campaigns. I expect that closer to the 2016 elections more reports of racism in Cape Town will surface in the media.

  58. I am white. A couple of weeks ago I phoned to make a reservation for our anniversary. I was told that no table was available. My wife, also white and unaware of my call phoned to make a booking at the same place. No problem, booking was made and we had a wonderful dinner. We blamed it on a lack of communication and poor admin. Everything is not racism. I have a much bigger problem with the new law coming into effect 2016 preventing all whites from being employed.

  59. Well put Hendrik. Major admin errors can occur and I would hope everyone on this forum would think of the fact that there are always three sides to a story before making a general statement about a race or a venue.

    I have worked in many restaurants/bars in Cape Town. From experience – this sort of ‘racism’ can occur, but it certainly doesn’t allow anyone to make a blanket statement around all venues and the psyche of a particular race in a particular region. This is because it most certainly doesn’t apply to everyone in the specified category.

    The only way around it is to identify and weed out the individuals who are racist or treat others unfairly. Name and shame. General statements will unfortunately get us nowhere.

  60. Marthina, I understand that that this furore has taken your blog stats to a new level, and more power to you for that! However, I do not believe for a minute that refusing Mr Nels apology is necessarily doing your cause any good – or the cause of your disgruntled friend, so noticeably absent from any of these posts?

    As a “person of colour” with well over 2 decades of experience in this industry, I have found myself at all ends of this spectrum. Being a politically active student at UCT, to being refused employment as a young man due to an ostensible lack of experience (this all way pre 1994) right to being accused of racism myself in my restaurant. What is concerning is this growing trend of white people accusing others of racism on behalf of their black friends, perhaps to ease their collective guilt. Today we sit with EE and AA issues yet everyone cries racism when a black person cannot get table at a restaurant, but whites are victims of the same rule where jobs are concerned. I am not saying that AA and EE is right or wrong, but let’s see the trees for the forest.

    Anyone who works in the industry and who understands what happens behind the scenes, will know that it could take one minute to construct a series of very unfortunate co-incidences that would have the same net result, yet racism would have nothing to do with it.
    Perhaps Marthina you should instead hold Mr Nel( a highly respected figure in the industry) to his promise and become part of the process he wishes to initiate at his establishment and take that as your win – that way you can become part of process that has the possibility of bringing about lasting change and “reclaim the white space” as you so eloquently put it.

    Perhaps then Mrs Mphofu will come online and give us her thoughts.

  61. The Rasists Whites in South Africa will only known reality when one morning they get out of bed with a black body; that will change their concept of everything. THE LORD who made the whites also made the blacks so it’s very disrespectful to our Creator to discriminate. .-

  62. This is not stupid, the incident described above is NOT ISOLATED, and I highly doubt this is meant to be slanderous towards the restaurant. Racism is absolutely a living, kicking issue that worms its way into so many forms of life in Cape Town, it has not died with Apartheid in the way people seem to presume. White privilege is absolutely present and as a white person I reckon this is something I have to be constantly aware of and mindful of, and along with racism, it exists everywhere.

    Also, as professional and ‘neutral’ as the hospitality industry makes itself out to be, I spent several months a few years ago in an East African country working as a receptionist in a Backpackers and the managers told me I should try to ‘avoid’ taking bookings from a few specific groups of people of colour as they were more ‘difficult’ or some such bull. I was pretty ignorant about white privilege and the such back then but that was an eye opener. I didn’t have a smart enough way to try and tell my bosses off, but I ignored their instructions and booked in everyone who was interested, including the people the place ‘preferred not to have’.

  63. Whites might try to hide behind the finger to cover up racism but they know the truth.There is no equality when it comes to blacks and whites…for starters…White folks in Africa whose fore fathers were Africans do not want to learn or speak vernacular languages of the countries that they stay in why…??

    In organization a white person without any qualification earns more than a black man who is qualified…how does this happen..?? Whites have placed themselves next to God by their actions.

    We should not waste time arguing about something that we ALL know…it is time wasting…

  64. Read this and then decide if Martina Dahlmanns related this alleged racism objectively:


  65. This is not something that can be confined to CT only. I had a similar experience at RJ’s steakhouse, Margate branch in KZN. I tried to make a booking, which after the person on the phone heard my name, declared they did not do over the festive season. Determined to take my family out where they had requested to go, we went through at around 7. We were seated but I had to complain about the service to even be acknowledged by the waiter. It took 20 minutes for them to get our drink order. A white family came in fifteen minutes after us, received their food orders while we were still having drinks and a waiter had yet to take my family’s food order.

    I demanded to see the manager and requested the bill, paid for the drinks and left. No one bothered with an apology, but my father knew a man who works at the steakhouse….i will tell you this, the man could not keep eye contact with us as we left.

  66. South African racist Whites are living in the stone age; in the Transvaal most of them are still very uneducated and have no place globally so they need to wake up to themselves. Living in a Black Man’s country and behaving like this; South Africa is not your country so get it right, it belongs to the Blacks; you guys are just tenants here.

    • fucktard…whites arrived in the Cape hundreds of years before they could even smell a hint of a black man,… you were just a bunch of nomadic tribes in animal skins that wondered down here from north and central africa….learn a bit of history you moron !! facts are facts…I was born in SA and have just as much right to be here as you…but i left – many years ago …so carry on voting for your ANC and their castle in the sky promises of B.BBE..25 yrs on and most of you still live in shacks with no running water or electricity…and when you wake up and your little bubble has burst, you will find that your “elite” few in government have served their own greedy, short-term interests iand sold out SA to the CHINESE..and they’ll have enslaved your ass !!..You’ll be their BITCH !!! hahahaha

      • Retard boer…leave the Chinese out of this…only whites can enslave others based on skin color…show me one instance where Chinese have enslaved blacks or whites.. apartheid in Shanghai? apartheid in Singapore? Innocent until proven guilty of apartheid…and only whites are guilty…specifically the boers.

  67. It’s about money money money …
    Off season of course they have time for your black butt but in season when business is booming why would they have space for Darkies. Darkies tip badly if they tip at all. Six of them eat the comes to around 4500 what’s the appropriate tip. It’s simple math.

    You wana see racism try and book a bed and breakfast in Smithfield those Boers will rather let you sleep in your car before they let you mess up their sheets.

  68. Ask Julias Malema what he thought of his experience at the 12 Apostles. He was an inhouse guest there a couple of months ago, by all accounts having a great time. Also Marius Fransman, leader of the ANC in the WC, who is a regular guest there as well. Were they oblivious to the “racism”?

  69. I find this article ridiculous to say the least. Ever heard of a cancellation? The restaurant could of had a cancellation of a table hence you able to make your booking. For a prominent restaurant of that caliber to apparently have treated the African guests in that fashion to me is far fetched. This is just trying to get a reaction. Instead of blogging about it…….have you taken it further???? Have you laid a formal complaint? Why would a restaurant like that risk bad publicity especially in a sensitive country like ours? The responses here also reflect how gullible our people are…. it’s very sad.

  70. Seriously?? After 20 years of so called ‘democracy’ white people cannot get employed due to RACIST BBBEE policies! I do not see ANYONE get up and speak out against this racist practice. I am all for the BEST qualified candidate to get the position irrespective of race,and not because the person has the darker skin. Also, when it comes to remuneration, the BBBEE candidate will most likely get a ‘premium’ on top of the salary. Also, when it comes to sports, all the so call ‘white’ sports have got quotas – where is the quota for the national soccer team? Is Bafana-Bafana actually representative of SA’s demographics? And I have not yet seen anyone questioning this! Racism is ALL around, and it does not only happen to black people. Catch a wake-up call and if you are against racism be consistent and stand up against ALL forms of racism.

    • Racism obviously exists you can see its apparent thanks to rabbitman! I pity him. People are different, it should not be limited to colour though. Many black people are noisy, many white people are noisy. Some white people are not very bright like rabbitman but so are some black people. However the people in this article did experience some segregation. Lots of it and race has something to do with it.

  71. I am a proud BLACK South African. And I am also a very big racist. This is why:

    Because the whites came here 400 years ago and showed us a better way of life than for us to sit in front of a mudhut…but then they robbed us and enslaved us,

    They built infrastructure but refused to give us access to it, so we had to learn a different way of life, by killing and stealing from the White man so we could also drive a nice car and dress nice clothing.

    Because after apartheid I was only one of 15 black kids in a white school…but then something changed…

    I saw the White Man is scared of us because they think we are barbarians, they warned us to stay away from the white girls because they thought we would rape them.

    But I rose above the stigma and showed my true colours, I was better at maths and English than 90% of Afrikaner children so I helped them with their subjects and they became my friends.

    The truth is that I was raised to hate whites, Indians and foreigners because we were told they steal from us our lands and oppress us from enjoying the wealth of our land.

    White children and Indian children aren’t raised racist necessarily and it’s mainly still in Afrikaner communities where racism thrives. Majority of White and Indian people I know are not racist but 90% of blacks I know hate whites.

    Even now years later after I am working as a Chartered Accountant in corporate I can see some racism, but now the whites don’t hate us because we are black, but because of Black Privilege.

    So then why am I a racist? Because it is inherently human to be racist, Greeks against the Turkish, Muslims Against Christians, Jews and all other non Muslims, in Africa the factions against each other.

    People stop being naive, racism is today more alive and real than ever and I am a self confessed racist because I chose to stop pretending that the world is a rational place and that people will all get along.

    I have White friends today and Indians and we make fun of each other in racist ways all the time because we get that we have to be able to laugh at ourselves.

    If you think that, you’re a mad person.

    Anybody who doesn’t like what I’m saying, tough shit. Get over it.

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  73. The sad thing about all this is no all white people are racist. Having said that we must remember the amount of hate crimes, hate speech and related matters which are still outstanding.

    Common thread: perpetrators white people.

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