At least two South Africans are rallying behind convicted racist Penny Sparrow – and are trying to raise money to pay the fine handed down to the retired KwaZulu-Natal estate agent by the Equality Court.
Last week the Umzinto Equality Court ruled that Sparrow – who was lambasted for calling black people “monkeys” in a Facebook rant because of the littering during New Year’s Day celebrations on Scottburgh beach – was guilty of racist speech. She was ordered to pay R150,000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation.
But, shortly after the judgment became public, at least two fundraising drives were started on the website You Caring, which has “compassionate crowd-funding” as its tagline.
Nathalie Moolman started the “Let’s HELP Penny Sparrow pay her fine!” campaign, aimed at raising $9,200 (about R140,000).
“The Umzinto Equality Court has ruled that Penny must pay R150000 to the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation for her view she made on Facebook a couple of months ago. Can we HELP her pay this amount? Please share!” Moolman wrote.
In the wake of the judgment, Johannesburg resident Helgard Muller started the “Help Penny Sparrow” campaign, aimed at raising $10,000.
By last night not a cent had been raised by either Moolman or Muller. But the campaigns did raise the ire of the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal, which said it was disappointed that people were coming to Sparrow’s aid.
The league’s chairman in the province, Thami Ngubane, said yesterday: “This is disturbing because the utterances made by Penny Sparrow stand in direct opposition to where our country should be going.
“It is a destination, a product of negotiations in which all South Africans, across all racial lines, came together and said South Africa should become a nonracial, nonsexist and progressive society where everybody should prosper. Her comments were the opposite of that destination.
“While we are happy with the court’s decision, these people [Moolman and Muller] are going to support her, which means that her remarks and utterances were on behalf of many,” Ngubane said.
But, he said, it was important to note that Sparrow’s comments – and the support she has received – did not come from all white people.
“We are not painting everyone with the same brush. There are progressive white people who do not associate with her remarks. In fact the majority do not share her views,” he said.
Instead of money, the campaigns received backlashes yesterday.
Zubair Kaka wrote: “Racists protecting racists. You have no shame.”
Brenda Crooks asked Moolman: “Are you for real? Sies man.”
Cape Town’s Carmen Morris said: “Nathalie you are ridiculous!!! I’m actually disgusted.”
When contacted Moolman said Sparrow is a “family friend”.
In an e-mail, sent through a third party, she said: “Truth be told, a fair number of South Africans are racists, but they just keep it to themselves; they don’t post it on social media.
“If you feel that Penny deserves a second chance please donate.”