South African actor Rajesh Gopie rushed to delete a racist post from his Facebook account just two hours after posting it, following questions from The Mercury.
Gopie, a well-known actor, director and playwright, took to Facebook to post his sentiments about the soccer riot that broke out at the Nedbank semi-final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.
Gopie wrote: “Yah, and the Baboons like soccer too much so they want to play with human heads.”
Hundreds of angry fans stormed the pitch at the stadium after Kaizer Chiefs suffered a 2-0 defeat against Free State Stars.
Former eThekwini Municipality councillor Eunice David urged Gopie to remove the post.
David said the comment was racist.
“I think you should retract it and apologise for using that word. Eish man, we have so much going on. We don’t need this from a leading personality in the Indian community. That word is most definitely offensive. Penny Sparrow paid dearly for that, remember”
The president of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said Gopie’s post was unforgivable.
“He deserves to be charged like anybody else. It is blatantly racist. It is unforgivable to think that someone could still say something like this 24 years after 1994. He must face the full wrath of the law and be punished, like everyone else,” he said.
When The Mercury contacted Gopie for comment, he appeared shocked on the phone. “I am going to remove it. I am not going to comment,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, Gopie removed the post. He then shared photographs from the riot with the caption, “Yah. I rest my case!”
Gopie later told The Mercury: “I was very enraged when I saw what they had done to that lady.”
He was referring to an attack by angry fans on a security guard. At the time, posts circulated on social media that the guard was a woman. However, stadium general manager Vusi Mazibuko said that of the 18 people injured, all were men.
Other race cases
In 2016, estate agent Penny Sparrow came under fire after referring to black beach revellers as “monkeys”.
Sparrow was subsequently found guilty of hate speech and fined R150 000, which was to be paid to the Adelaide and Oliver Tambo Foundation.
In a recent case, former estate agent Vicki Momberg was found guilty of crimen injuria and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment (with one year suspended) after she called police officers the k-word. Momberg’s verbal tirade was caught on camera. Two black police officers had come to her aid after she was robbed. However, an irate Momberg called the officers the k-word more than 40 times. Momberg applied for leave to appeal, which was refused.