Green­peace site hi­jacked by ‘nasty racist’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TANKISO MAKHETHA

AS THE coun­try cel­e­brates Man­dela Day, Green­peace Africa has found it­self staving off some un­wanted pub­lic­ity that dragged its name into a racism spat.

In a Face­book post con­tain­ing an iconic im­age of Nel­son Man­dela with his fist raised to the air, the en­vi­ron­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion asks fol­low­ers what they will be do­ing for 67 min­utes in hon­our of the for­mer states­man.

One of the re­sponses posted on Green­peace Africa’s page is that of Matthew Gra­ham, who stated: “I am dis­en­gag­ing from Green­peace. Go for it, save the K **** r and kill the world.”

How­ever, none of the peo­ple who com­mented af­ter­wards called him out for us­ing the K-word.

In­stead, they just car­ried on as nor­mal, talk­ing about how they will be dis­tribut­ing men­strual cups or rais­ing money to up­grade ken­nels.

Green­peace’s cli­mate and en­ergy cam­paigner Nhlanhla Sibisi said Green­peace had es­ca­lated the is­sue to its dig­i­tal team so as to au­then­ti­cate Gra­ham’s ac­count be­fore de­ter­min­ing which steps to take.

“We will first de­ter­mine whether his pro­file is not fake, and when we track him down we will be able to re­port him to the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion and the po­lice,” Sibisi told The Star yes­ter­day.

De­spite Green­peace be­ing aware of Gra­ham’s post, it did not delete it, but only sent a stan­dard cau­tion­ary mes­sage that the use of hate speech was un­ac­cept­able.

A search through Gra­ham’s Face­book time­line showed a se­ries of racially abu­sive posts on so­cial me­dia.

He also posted two pic­tures next to each other with the cap­tion: “From first world coun­try to third world s**thole.”

The first one, taken dur­ing the apartheid era, has the old South African flag at­tached and shows po­lice march­ing as if there is a car­ni­val. The sec­ond one, with the new flag, shows black peo­ple protest­ing.

In an­other post, Gra­ham wrote: “Awake at stupid o’clock thanx to my darker brethren.”

In what can be de­scribed as a re­ac­tion to a break-in he suf­fered where some of his ap­pli­ances were stolen, Gra­ham wrote: “I am in such an anti-black mood. Steal if you want BUT not from me. I shoot back.”

In an­other post he wrote: “So happy I met a good black man to­day! He was DEAD! I need to meet more like this.

“Please be ad­vised I am not a racist I am an in­di­vid­u­al­ist. Hate them all in­di­vid­u­ally.”

When a friend of his told him to “stop be­ing so an­gry on Face­book”, Gra­ham re­sponded by say­ing: “Yeah I am so neg­a­tive and an­gry that I search for miss­ing peo­ple and an­i­mals. Yet I don’t mur­der rape or thieve (sic). Sorry I’m so bad…”

The Star sent a mes­sage to Gra­ham via Face­book to speak to him about his use of the k-word but he never re­sponded.

An­other user, An­ton Si­moes, re­ferred to Nel­son Man­dela as a ter­ror­ist on the same post. “Plenty to do for more than 67 min­utes without need­ing to cel­e­brate a ter­ror­ist.”

De­spite Gra­ham’s and Si­moes’s di­vi­sive com­ments, some fol­low­ers painted an op­ti­mistic pic­ture re­gard­ing their plans for the day.

An­nemarie Reis said: “I am a vol­un­teer and monthly donor at the Gar­den Route Spca Mos­sel­baai. To­mor­row I will be ar­rested by po­lice and locked in a cage at the shel­ter. My 67 min­utes will in­clude rais­ing ‘bail’.

“The “bail” money will be used to up­grade our age­ing ken­nels. It is an op­por­tu­nity to add an­other fun di­men­sion to my favourite char­ity!”

Oth­ers said they would be en­gag­ing in daily ac­tiv­i­ties con­tribut­ing to the main thrust of Man­dela Day.

Shamila Ram­jawan, who lives in KwaZulu-Natal, said: “Do­ing what I do al­most ev­ery other day. Com­mu­nity en­gage­ments and ad­vo­cat­ing a green en­vi­ron­ment with my PrincessD Men­strual Cup.”

Oth­ers chose ac­tiv­i­ties that would con­trib­ute to Man­dela Day

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