‘They're killers’: Why I won’t help a white beggar
A Durban marketing boss disrupted the rainbow nation when he spurned a beggar for being white
If you were offended by Lindo Buthelezi’s recorded hazing of a homeless man who had asked him for money on the Durban beachfront, you can rest assured that he doesn’t care.
The recalcitrant marketing agency boss came under fire on Tuesday after a clip of him dressing down a beggar – all because he was white – went viral.
“If the video upset you, I'm sorry for your wasted pain because that was not meant to hurt you but to make you conscious,” he said on Monday, insisting that his online admonishment was merely to start an uncomfortable conversation about race and poverty.
“I“m really excited and happy that we evoked so much emotion, which is what we’ve been working on for such a long time. White people need to face reality and get to know us without them feeling or treating us as superior,” he said.
In the video, Buthelezi is approached by the beggar who asks him for money.
“I’m a very nice guy. I’m a very giving person‚ but my forefathers will kill me if I had to give R2 to a white guy,” he said.
“White people are murderers‚ my man. You’ve killed our forefathers. You are here illegally and you still want me to give you a R2.
“My man‚ I feel disrespected. I’m sitting here nicely‚ working on the beach‚ in the ocean and relaxing, and you’re coming here to disturb me. Why are you doing this, my brother?”
The beggar replies: “I am hungry.”
Buthelezi, who owns marketing firm FameUs, said the clip would form part of a documentary series that would air on YouTube in months to come.
He would not be drawn on whether he had filmed the man with his permission.
Attempts to find the beggar were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.
Despite turning away the man looking for R2, Buthelezi said he was a lover of people, styling himself as a modern-day Robin Hood in a statement he released on Tuesday.
“I love people and I work overtime to feed people, educate kids, and I still stand to be the proud young businessman who installed free internet for the poor in the community I grew up in,” he said.
Michael Morris, head of media at the Institute of Race Relations, opined that Buthelezi’s cellphone video did not portray an ugly, racist confrontation.
“It is, in fact, a civil engagement between two South Africans whose circumstances and perspectives are shaped by very different histories.”
“The driver of the car makes his point with apparent honesty, and concludes by wishing the beggar a good day. The more generous and charitable among us – as is amply evident from comments from other South Africans on social media – might have willed the driver to give the beggar the R2 he was asking for to buy bread. Nevertheless, the driver was generous enough at least to explain himself in civil if frank terms,” he said.
Morris added that our different histories matter, to the extent that they shape our view of our world and how we fit into it.
"We don’t know the beggar’s circumstances, but, given his skin colour, we could surmise his life would have been easier before 1994. The inverse is doubtless true of the driver, whose awareness of a long history of discrimination and deprivation shapes his view of South Africa in 2019,” he said.