A student who helped lead the campaign to tear down a ‘racist’ statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford has boasted about refusing to tip a waitress because she was white.
Ntokozo Qwabe bragged online that he and a friend made the woman cry ‘typical white tears’ after writing on the bill ‘we will give tip when you return the land’.
The incident, in a café in South Africa, provoked a fierce backlash from critics who branded him a ‘hypocrite’.
Ntokozo, 24, is one of the leaders of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which campaigned to remove a statue of the 19th Century imperialist from Oriel College.
Although he is a Rhodes scholar himself and received money from the Rhodes’ estate to study at Oxford, Ntokozo and other activists claimed forcing ethnic minority students to walk past the statue amounted to ‘violence’.
On Thursday, he wrote on Facebook about an altercation with a waitress during a visit to a restaurant called Obz Café in the Western Cape, South Africa.
LOL wow unable to stop smiling because something so black‚ wonderful & LIT just happened! And of course‚ the catalyst was a radical non-binary trans black activist – Wandile Dlamini – from the Rhodes Must Fall movement. Because trans activists have BEEN the ultimate blessers of this decolonial struggle!
To cut the long story short‚ we are out at Obz Cafe with the said activist‚ and the time for the bill comes. Our waitress is a white woman. I ask the said activist what the going rate for tips/gratuity is in these shores. They look at me very reluctantly and they say ‘give me the slip‚ I’ll sort that out’. I give them the slip.
They take a pen & slip in a note where the gratuity/tip amount is supposed to be entered. The note reads in bold: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”. The waitress comes to us with a card machine for the bill to be sorted out. She sees the note & starts shaking. She leaves us & bursts into typical white tears (like why are you crying when all we’ve done is make a kind request? lol!).
Anyways‚ so this white woman goes to her colleagues who are furious. She exits to cry at the back & a white male colleague of hers reluctantly comes out to address us & to annoy us more with his own white tears telling us that he finds our act “racist”.
We then start breaking it down for this white man & ask him why they are catching feelings when we haven’t even started (like the part where we take up arms hasn’t even come & yall are already out here drowning us in your white tears? Really white people? Wow.).
We start drawing him to the political nature of the act & why we couldn’t be bothered that they decided to catch feelings from the note. We tell him it’s great that business as usual has stopped & the pressing issue of land is now on the agenda in that space – seeing the cowntry was celebrating ‘Freedom Day’ yesterday. We then chase him back to do his job. And continue with our conversation before exiting the café.
Moral of the story: the time has come when no white person will be absolved. We are tired of “not all white people” and all other bullshit. We are here‚ and we want the stolen land back. No white person will be out here living their best life while we are out here being a landless and dispossessed black mass. NO white person shall rest. It is irrelevant whether you personally have land/wealth or you don’t. Go to your fellow white people & mobilise for them to give us the land back.
That will be the starting point of all our interactions from now. We will agitate all our spaces with the big question: WHERE IS THE LAND?
Thank you to all the non binary‚ trans & all other black bodies who have been at the helm of this decolonial moment in the settler colony known as South Afrika. NOTHING will ever be the same again. Alibuye Izwe Lethu!
His post went viral on the internet, with critics from around the world hitting out at his apparent prejudice.
Muhammed Habib Banderker wrote: ‘What an absolute fool of a human being this guy is.’
Tim Flack said: ‘Oh big man, so chuffed to make a waitress cry. For someone who has gone through so much hardship in his life, I’m no longer inspired by you.
‘You are not a role model for anyone, you are a hateful human being. There’s my white tears.’
Aaminah Masauso said: ‘Have you ever worked as wait staff? Have you ever had to depend on gratuity to make ends meet? ‘How would you feel if it was a black waitress being subjected to such?’
Riaz Muhammed branded him ‘racist’ and said: ‘You will amount to nothing. Hypocrite.’
Yesterday, Mr Qwabe responded to his critics online by accusing the ‘white media’ of ‘going hysterical’.
He added: ‘One moment of white tears always makes news despite the everyday unarticulated black pain the dispossessed & landless masses of this cowntry have to live through! WOW. Whiteness is so weak. Cute actually.’
But South Africans are coming together to show Ntokozo Qwabe who the real role models are.
Hundreds of patrons are making their way to the restaurant to find the waitress to tip her, while others have joined various online campaigns to raise money for the waitress in solidarity, apparently one person has already raised over R10 000 towards a fund for the waitress.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up in honour of the waitress. Click here to support the cause.
South Africans are standing up against the racist nature of Ntokozo’s actions and they are all saying, it won’t be tolerated.
I think we should thank Ntokozo for showing us his worst side, so we can retaliate by showing our best. We are all South African, we all belong here… we are in this together & the only way we’ll get through this, is together. We need to stay motivated and inspire each other to be better. Together, South Africa will rise!