Tweet­ers put racist twist on Miss SA

Hy­giene gloves seen as a dirty deed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KAR­ISHMA DIPA kar­

MISS South Africa Demi-Leigh NelPeters was yes­ter­day forced to stave off heated racist al­le­ga­tions on so­cial me­dia.

This was after pic­tures of the beauty queen be­gan cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia, show­ing her hold­ing black chil­dren’s hands while wear­ing gloves.

The im­ages stem from the 22-year-old’s visit to a feed­ing scheme.

Nel-Peters was one of the vol­un­teers at a pop-up soup kitchen spear­headed by Sun In­ter­na­tional’s Maslow Ho­tel at the Ik­a­geng com­mu­nity cen­tre in Or­lando West, Soweto, on Wed­nes­day.

De­spite the char­i­ta­ble deed, many Twit­ter users ac­cused the beauty queen of wear­ing the gloves “be­cause she didn’t want to touch black chil­dren”.

@Pat­siPhala tweeted: “I hear this lady is @Of­fi­cial Mis­sSA. Can any­one ex­plain why is she feed­ing BLACK kids with la­tex gloves?”

@MTsh­waku added: “Miss SA Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters had to use sur­gi­cal gloves to feed chil­dren in Soweto #white­dom­i­nance­must­fall.”

But Nel-Peters in­sists that she wore them for hy­gienic pur­poses and strongly de­nied any racial rea­sons for her ac­tion.

In a video posted on her Twit­ter ac­count, she ex­plained that all those who worked with the food had to wear gloves to avoid pass­ing any in­fec­tions to the kids.

“That was our only in­ten­tion for wear­ing the gloves, to be as hy­gienic as pos­si­ble.”

Ik­a­geng pro­gramme di­rec­tor Carol Dyan­tyi also main­tained that all vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing their own staffers, were re­quired to wear gloves dur­ing the food prepa­ra­tion.

“It was manda­tory,” she in­sisted.

Dyan­tyi ex­plained that one of the im­ages in ques­tion re­gard­ing Miss SA wear­ing the gloves while in­ter­act­ing with the young­sters arose dur­ing a touch­ing mo­ment.

“The story be­hind one of the pic­tures is fan­tas­tic. An eight-year-old deaf girl wanted to teach Demi-Leigh how to say ‘thank you’ in sign lan­guage while Demi was still in­volved in food prepa­ra­tion. Demi was only too happy to pose for a pic­ture,” said Dyan­tyi.

Nel-Peters said: “To me, the moral of the story of to­day was that 300 kids got a proper, warm lunch and they got that with or with­out gloves, so I am a bit sad­dened that my in­ten­tions were taken com­pletely wrong.”

How­ever, she apol­o­gised to any­one who was of­fended.

De­spite the wide­spread con­dem­na­tion, many have come to Nel-Peters’s de­fence.

@Mdue_Dlamini tweeted: “Out here la­belling Miss SA a racist when she was feed­ing hun­gry kids when you’ve never helped a blind man cross the road. Ya’ll can be bor­ing.”

@dlamini_d_ posted: “This whole Miss SA thing is just blown out of pro­por­tion, geez you people are so sen­si­tive.”

MIS­UN­DER­STOOD: Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was in Soweto on Wed­nes­day to spend time with more than 300 young­sters and share a meal with them.

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