Sarah Britten
Sarah Britten

Dear Tshidi: Thank you too


Dear Tshidi

I don’t know you. Apparently you’re a model and actress but, like Jessica, I hadn’t heard of you until yesterday. And I must say I’m astonished that it took me so long to find you. Specifically, this gem of a tweet, which you judged an appropriate response to the Jessica Leandra debacle:

It took a while for that tweet to reach a wider audience and when it did, there were raised eyebrows. Later, you defended yourself:

You even brought in a little sanctimonious hypocrisy:

Anyhow, good on you for not apologising. If you can’t see why you did anything wrong, then why should you? Apparently somebody has reported you to the SAHRC and somebody tweeted your agent, but compared to the disastrous day Jessica Leandra had on May 4th, you’ve escaped pretty much scot free. Lucky you.

So I’d like to say thank you for evening things out a little. Thank you for reminding us that racism is not the exclusive preserve of the Jessicas of this world. You’ve presented us with an opportunity to condemn racism no matter who expresses it, and to counter the Hofmeyresque argument that racism is condemned when it comes from white South Africans, but not their black compatriots.

What’s obvious from the case of Jessica and Tshidi is that South Africans are in desperate need of anger management. We seem incapable of resolving conflict without resorting to racist generalisations. Somehow, if we see bad behaviour, we immediately attribute it to race rather than a failure of character; every time somebody behaves like a total doos, the entire premise of post-apartheid South Africa goes on trial.

One of the most effective ways to combat stereotypes about each other – the all whites this and all blacks that – would be to take visible steps to rebuke those who cross the line between what we agree to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Be seen not to tolerate racism in those who are like us, not just leave the protests and complaints to the targets of racist speech. (And by this I mean that more white South Africans should condemn racism from white South Africans; the same goes for black South Africans too). If the responses of reasonable South Africans drown out those of the racist trolls, we will make a meaningful step in the direction of configuring a society based on honesty and mutual respect.

So, thank you Tshidi. If you and Jessica help us, even just a little, to resolve our differences in a more mature way, then you will both have done us all a not inconsiderable favour.

Tags: , , , , ,

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    • mike venter

      hahahaha ja it cut both ways.

      Where is Dave Harris now? I can not wait to hear how he cut this one.

      Thanks Sarah you did good with both articles.

    • Donald Paul

      Another call for sanity and civility. Thanks

    • Paul Hughes

      Great read! I really enjoyed it and hope it gets shared with as many people as possible!

    • Hlengiwe Mtshatsha

      I am actually glad this happened. These girls remind us how tremendously damaged our perception of other races is. I sincerely hope we all use this as an opportunity to let down our guard and humanise our interactions with others.

    • Thinking

      Your best point is “every time somebody behaves like a total doos, we immediately attribute it to race rather than a failure of character”. I think this is the basic point – that dooses, especially those who are intellectually lazy, always jump to the racial labelling of others. Perhaps the reason for this, apart from their individual laziness, is that doing this has become seen as acceptable in SA, as it would be in few other countries – acceptable in the sense that so-called political leaders use this kind of argument frequently and it is encoded in official policy and part of the grand project of social engineering. But just because there is a profound lack of morality from national leaders, it does not change the responsibility of the individual to abbhor such behaviour. And as you say, there are plently of dooses of all races in SA. But there are also plenty of decent people, who know that failures of character are not the preserve of any race, but the preserve of individuals only.

    • TC

      I somehow totally missed the Jessica saga until much later in the day. I have to say that it made me feel ashamed to be white. Then, last night I saw this latest incident. What I find sad is that although the twitter public on both sides of the spectrum, are in outrage the media/politicians who were very loud on Friday have been silent. This is the only article outside of twitter. Makes it very easy to believe that racism/hate speech against whites are condoned by those institutions

    • Wayne

      Nice piece sarah. you not realy saying alot but i like the part where you say that whites should condemn white racism. and the same for others as well. i recently wrote an article exposing racism in schools and it is quite hard to speak up against ur “own”. more often then not you are seen as the trouble maker.

    • Grant

      Sarah, interesting post(s). I’d like to hear your thoughts on two points I draw from “Jessica-gate” and Tshidi’s not-so-classy riposte.
      (1) 160 character tweets on socially sensitive issues seem to a really poor medium for us to gauge a person’s convictions and opinions on those issues (which suggests that a sensible tweeter should think before they tweet). Jessica and Tshidi both clearly hold to views which many people find abhorrent, but can we be sure in 160 chars? It seems to me that twitter has far greater power to mis-inform than it does to clarify those thoughts when misinterpreted. When clarifying what they meant, both Jessica and Tshidi seemed to simply heap more wood on their bonfires of public condemnation. You imply above that Tshidi should have apologised instead of defending her views, and on the face of it I would agree. But apologise how, and to who? I have little/no control over who follows me – and further who re-tweets my views? Is a twitter apology for a twitter gaffe the right forum? Recent litigation has demonstrated that we are all legally responsible for our tweets (Lalit Modi’s case (vs Chris Cairns) comes to mind). Now these complaints to the SAHRC are going to allow for a discussion on the moral responsibility we take for our tweeted thoughts as well.
      (2) The rapid condemnation, the ‘knee-jerk’ response, the counter-vitriol and the sanctimonious horror as a reaction to Leandra’s tweet seems intuitively to be the appropriate response…

    • Philip Cole

      I’m now getting tired of this surfeit of ‘models’ giving us their opinions. Have they ever spoken any words of interest to anyone?

    • Dave Harris

      Your simplistic “analysis” of these unfortunate tweets gets worse and worse Sarah!
      “What’s obvious from the case of Jessica and Tshidi is that South Africans are in desperate need of anger management”
      Hardly. Tshidi may need anger management for reacting to the pain and hurt of Jessica’s strange racism but Jessica’s case is TOTALLY different. Just like many SA whites still wallowing in apartheid’s wealth and privilege, she needs the racism exorcised through some combination of education, spirituality, therapy and counselling.

    • http://n/a Daron Mann

      Well done – super piece that should be read by all South Africans

    • Duncan

      Perhaps we’re all a little hypersensitive and use the Race card as a default position in our arguing. If one was t replace the unacceptable nouns used in the offensive articles with people’s names would that make the offensive articles any less offensive? Not likely – so it remains probable then that the true nature and character of the authors as human beings a been exposed but clouded by their default positition on race. So really how much of this is about Race and how much of it is about the attitude of people towards people? Let me demonstrate ….. George is a silly person who should be shot is no different to the sentiment, George is a silly white person who should be shot… yet the one statemen is loaded with racial bias and has a different interpretation to those of us that we hypersentive to race issues…. One could be ridiculous and assert that in fact the author has an issue with George….where the point should be, should any one be declaring George to be a silly person at all….irrespective of his race. All people with the name Greg should be shot at dawn for being Greg….is no different in sentiment to all whites should be shot at dawn for being white…. It’s the sentiment and attitude of the author that is misplaced and questionable.

      So for as long as we fail to treat people as people and substitute people allow their true natures to be substituted with racial bias the problems we see as with Jessica and Tshidi will prevail and sadly,

    • Lebo

      Unfortunately, this tshidi character will never be half as publicised as Jessica was, mostly because she’s a nobody, an ASPIRING model aas opposed to jessica, an established one. People will always grill famous people, and that’s sad. What’s even more disheartening is that this whole frenzy over racist tweets has put the spotlight over how racist we are as a nation. Have you ever tried to search “South Africa” on youtube? When typed in on youtube, the 2 most basic nouns used for our country bring up a string of “white genocide” and “reverse racism in SA” videos. Try it, you might find yourself giggling quite a bit. Yes, BBBEE is a system that favours blacks, but that’s just to give us an opportunity to better ourselves econmically. We can’t all be money-snatching politicians nor do we aspire to do so. How else are we to get equal opportunities in the workplace? Our parents don’t have degrees because the aparteid system had them working in gardens and hotel lobbies. Why do white people feel as is there’s a genocide? Gosh, I had the fact that my children are going to have to be born in a country where one is defined by the colour of the skin; where if I’m driving a fancy car, I’m dubbed a “BEE” fat-cat, and no one gives a damn about the late nights I stayed up in varsity earning my degrees; where if I move down the street from white people, walls are erected a little bit higher. I love people: not colour, just people. It pains me that I’m the exception…

    • Graham

      Any person that says she wishes all people from a certain race group were dead is in desparate need of education, spirituality, therapy and counseling.
      Both ladies were venting anger, but both in totally inexcusable ways. Both generalized race groups in their tweets. Both showed racism.
      There is no difference.

    •!/AngelaKrige/media/slideshow? Angela

      Young ladies need to learn, when angry, upset or hurt – STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD

    •!/McEwansholic Guinnessholic

      Tshidi agreed with genocide and wiping the planet of white South Africans. Evidently recalling some old struggle hatred which South Africa could well do without.

      Leandra said a wee ‘sweary’ after being sexually harassed.

      Yup. I see the common ground. Not!

    • Respect

      Damn twitter Is very powerful omg…But guys seriously now,I think both Tshidi and Jessica learned their lesson.Instead of attacking them,We should be advising them instead.Nobody is perfect.I salute tshidi for standing up for her self,(freedom of speech)Together we can make dis world a better place by working together instead of working against each other.Who are we to judge?

    • peter

      Inside every south african there is a racist trying to get out


      Inside every racist there is a ….????…….. trying to get out (fill in the blank space)

    • Brendan

      Protagonist No.1: a male who feels it is ok to pass lewd comments at a woman. He is so assured of his sexist superiority that he feels free do do this in a public place (Spar was it?) – A verbal rapist.

      Protagonist No. 2: a woman with a racist heart that resorts to childish and deeply insensitive name-calling when she is verbally raped.

      Protagonist No.3: a woman with a racist heart that wished the white race dead.

      So who would be your preferred dinner guest? All three are pretty disgusting individuals (but let that not reflect on their racial groupings).

    • Peter Win

      Dave Harris – no comment this time around ??

    • Lauda

      What these two girls did are not acceptable and if any punishment should be handed out they both should receive the same treatment/punishment. What we all should realise that South Africans as such are not the only human beings on this planet having so called racist issues. I do hope that someday EVERY person in South Africa would wake up and see new beginnings started round about 1994…everybody thats riding this racist wave should just sit down and rethink their thoughts and actions, and please do not act out your anger in any social media form. We need each other to work together in making RSA a great country. Its all possible we have full potential. But I’m afraid that we as South Africans – blue, green, yellow, black or white is not strong enough to see what the possibilities are… Such a pity. The time is long overdue to bury racism as an excuse for everything that goes wrong.

    • Tebogo

      Both culprits are not representatives of both races, we didn’t appoint Tshidi to be a spokesperson for blacks & same goes for our white compatriots didn’t send Jessica to utter such dirt (depending on whether you’re in support or against). Rainbow nation is just a concept but true love, values, principles and tolerance of each other’s cultures and diversity can help us towards nation building.

    • Balt Verhagen

      Really, boys and girls!

      This is getting completely out of hand!

      Turning ThoughtLeader into an extension of Twitter means that the mindless and mind-destroying game invades even this island of reasonably composed debate. It is time the so-called ‘moderators’ of this site step in and stop the rot

    • Charmaine

      What is patently clear is that despite the banning of the ANC; us all voting together for our government and the lack of a significant civil war; we are all still shackled to the past on a deep emotional level. We see it all across our beautiful country in dysfunctional schools and communities; and the levels of rage on our roads.
      Even the Born Frees are tainted with racism; which doesnt make sense since they lived after we dismantled all the structures of apartheid and wished it away with some Nobel Peace Prizes.
      The 2 girls in question are indicative that much healing still needs to take place; but first we need to acknowledge (as a nation) that we have a deep seated racism which is still present in many (some publically and some privately). Then our real healing can start as a country.

    • Enough Said

      I think we are all oversensitive.

      Cursing people is as old as the hills when one is emotionally hyped i.e., “bald old fart with a big tummy”, “frigging Irish/Jew/Honky/Pom/Kraut/Frog/Yank etc”, “lazy fat arsed bitch”….we’re human, we have emotions.

      Time to stop taking either the K-word or “kill all whites” taunt uttered flippantly seriously.

      HOWEVER, when some powerful public figures who make “kill the boer” or alternatively some white supremacist hate slogan their political platform, this needs to be taken seriously and stopped, it could cause civil war.

      Neither Leandra nor Tshedi are going to cause a civil unrest, take their childish flippant comments from whense they come, if they carry on and it irritates you, block them, they will get the message.

    • NaShwane

      Racism is still at large.. Maybe the jessica & tshidi events just brought back reality that maybe it was unrealistic of us to expect to be happy rainbow nation. I think it will take more than 18yrs for us to heal. Maybe our kids will be the gen that really start looking beyond the colour. I was upset about Jessica’s tweet & I felt so many times have we ignored “whites” racial social media rants & it was high time we spoke up about it. We must also not forget that some whites & blacks will refuse change & the best we can do is to demonstrate low tolerance for it.

      Whites also need to understand that because of the past “how they viewed by blacks will not change over night. For me racist blacks it’s something new & its always a reaction. I believe as blacks we just need to learn to react defferently to racist whites so we can end the circle.

    • Mark

      You’re right Dave Harris. Tshidi merely expressed the wish that all people from some shade of skin colour and lighter had been exterminated. To think that I’d read that as a bit racist. My genetic fault entirely.

    • GarethV

      South Africa’s version of yin and yang, or dumb and dumber.

    • GarethV

      Just to be clear, I am not a model!

    • Nco Dube

      You sound like you are relieved that it is now a black person that is racist. that is quite sad vecause no one should ever feel the need to defend or even try to explain racism. racism is racism whether perpetrated by black or white persons. Both these young are sadly a reflection of our deeply divided society and the author of this piece isnt to far behind them.

    • blogroid

      As the old axiom goes “publish and be dammed”.

    • Btian J

      We’ve given two idiots their 15 minutes of fame

    • Pingback: Jessica, Tshidi, and a strange new twist | Nicol & Second()

    • Dave Harris

      Its a sad state of affairs when seemingly “educated” bloggers like Sarah, brush aside the underlying cause of these bizarre reactions by Jessica and Tshidi – two “born free” young girls. Like the real perpetrators of racism, she excuses racism by calling for “anger management” and by demonizing these young girls, while continuing to deny this cancer that festers in our sick society. Nowadays the beneficiaries of apartheid have the GALL to scream white genocide, don’t touch our Constitution and point fingers at the government corruption as if it were unique to SA, while ignoring the rampant negative stereotyping of blacks in our media and the continued marginalization and economic opression of the black majority in SA. Shameful!

    • Brent

      Dave Harris, the main emotion that drove Apartheid for so so long was fear. Whites were saturated with all the negative goings on North of us and in many years of canvassing the fear of ‘been driven into the sea” irrational as it is, was voiced more than just a few times. Now a young black lady confirms these nutty fears, openly and all she gets is a tut tut slap on the wrist. Both stupid ladies should serve at least 6 months community service (hancuffed together being my preference) and then tweet about what it is like being disadvantaged in SA.


    • http://n/a Pinky

      So what are her sponsors going to do about this…? I will never condone her utterances in fact I strongly condemn with utmost contempt they so richly deserve, but I wonder would there be this exchange had Jessica not started with her offensive racist remarks for the SECOND time nogal? This Jessica seems to be bringing out the worse in many SAns.

    • Lesego

      I dont think Tshidi was wrong by retaliating against a very disturbing tweet by Jessica. No one would have taken it laying down?

    • JadedJawz

      these twits need to be taught a lesson – and the best way for that lesson 2 be taught is through consequences. Let them reap the consequences of their stupidity; people need to stop making excuses for stupid. We should accept it, and put them in the “slow class”. stupid is stupid. Now we have people debating the degrees of their stupidity!At their age, there’s no longer a cure for their stupidity – just a treatment. and the treatment is, take responsibility for the offence you purposefully caused others.

      @Brendan: I’d prefer protagonist number 1 over for dinner. Then invite a cross dresser. :)

    • Jenny

      Yes Lesego but reacting to a racist tweet with another racist tweet – one that condones the killing of an entire race is just stupid.

    • Rich

      @Enough Said – well said! That is all there is to say on this matter.

      I catch myself frequently uttering something in traffic or elswhere that should not be said. And I am sure our BOA hating troll Dave does the same (as all the self righteous do) but steadfastly deny.

      I will not let a bimbo’s brain fart destroy my day (slap me – I called them bimbos!). I am afraid the retort to this will be, “Oh, but it is indicative of something rotten in society that…” My reponse is anger drives people to do things they would not normally do. Simple. Human condition.

    • nguni

      The white model ‘insulted’ a black male on Twitter (he probably has no internet) by calling him the k word for sexually harassing her. If he’d have behaved that way towards a woman in the arabic world (where the k word simply means infidel) he would have had his nuts chopped off.. She lost her job.
      The black model wished that SA whites had been genocided away then she wouldn’t have to hear that awful k word again.. no job lost.
      The big difference was in the way people responded to the two ‘ladies’. Whites often felt ashamed, went overboard criticizing Jessica. Most blacks thought Tshidi was justified or provoked in the hate she spewed.
      Many commentators feel these are two sides to the same coin. Wrong!
      People like Tshidi are the ones ready to gang up for Uhuru, where they can finally get stuck into whites with pangas, guns etc. She’ll not do the dirty stuff herself but screech and ululate in the background while the blood flows.

      @ Lebo I’m surprised you find the ‘white genocide’ issue something to giggle about. You’re obviously clueless: it’s about farmers, usually old folk who are being killed in the most horrific ways, often without the theft motive.
      Can you blame whites for calling blacks BEE fat cats with their big cars? Almost all are! Levelling the playfield was done by the constitution, no AA or BBBEE was needed. That way, people would have acknowledged your hard work, your achievements.

    • Colour Coded

      Got it!
      Being PC’ (Politically correct) only applies to whites , who are all automatically ‘racist’ -even if they aren’t, never were and fought against apartheid.
      In other words, it’s perfectly okay for Blacks to ‘want to kill the boer’ (the ANC firmly in support) and for Tshidi, to tweet ” … I wish all white people were killed when you sang ‘Kill the Boer’…”
      But Whites must NEVER use the ‘K. word ‘ which, taken in context, is no more than a derogatory slang word. It does not threaten death or murder or incite violence.

      So a white girl uses this word when a black man threatens her sexually. What if she’d been raped and murdered? Would the outrage have compared? – and in agreement with “Enough Said’, there are plenty of words like ‘That Word’.

      An idea! Had Jessica rather used the THREE-letter-K-word, that would have been acceptable. After all, it is used all over the place.
      At least, it wouldn’t have been the SIX-letter-K- word, which (although it bears no comparison to blatant death threats and wishes) is, as we know, the most despicable, pernicious and dangerous thing any white person could say – even if the sod deserved it.

      I hope Jessica finds patrons who aren’t afraid to cowtow to ‘outraged ‘ Blacks over “Whites not being ‘PC'” – whereas they, by contrast, get away with being both racially prejudiced and threatening.

      What is sauce for the white goose is certainly not sauce for the black gander.

    • Lucky Ntuli


      Thank you so much for that.

      It is truly refreshing as it is getting harder by the day to realize the brats from all sides have no idea at all what they are asking for and will eventually get Uhuru style.

      The time bomb keeps ticking, these self style/entitled brats realize not what the direction is. It is going to be up to the adults to force re-calibration from this obvious train wreck in slow motion.

    • IMWIM

      @Sarah Britten

      “Tshidi has had one minor extra role in the South African soapie, Generations, and has never shot a single campaign or job as a model.”, says ex-agent Anita Hollis.

      What I’m saying is: she had no sponsorships or contracts to lose. So her being black isn’t the reason she “escaped pretty much scot free” as you insinuate. Nevertheless her tweet was wrong and she should take responsibility for it.

      heres my reference:

    • Charlotte

      @ Dave Harris …continued from the ‘Dear Jessica’ blog and in point form::

      1. “Ill feelings toward you?” …. That would be an understatement.
      2. There could be no bigger racist than you.
      3. “Jonathan Shapiro is a two bit artist.” No he is a brilliant and world renown cartoonist.. What are you?. A two bit troll?
      4. Zuma has just married someone with whom he has a 2 year old child. Therefore once again, he has had UNPROTECTED SEX OUTSIDE HIS MULTIPLE MARRIAGES. What a role model! He should be depicted with a condom hanging in front of his face from the showerhead.
      Respect is earned – not given

    • dashafa

      There was a time when I thought talking about racism openly, with the idea of somehow exorcising it by examining its roots and being objective about it, was the way to go. However, I now feel that our society has become overly focused on the ‘talking cure’, to the extent that we ruminate rather than communicate. ‘Ruminate’, in the context of psychology, means that you go over and over the same issues without making real progress or being able to let them go. You actually keep the issue alive and are unable to transcend it. With all the new technology out there giving everyone a voice, we now have to be subjected to the everyday rants that people have which used to be private, but the exposure available from the new social media has the effect of blowing things out of proportion. Of course it’s wrong to ‘tweet’ racist comments but the truth is that SA is more integrated than it has ever been. It will be difficult to go further until be reduce inequality of all kinds. Can we really control what people are thinking? What we really need is strong media education to teach people to be critical of that they consume and manage their virtual lives a little better as well as to inculcate some kind of ethical standard with regard to the use of especially social media. People need to understand that tweeting is in fact the same as standing on a soapbox in Sandton Square and spewing vitriol. It just feels different but it can carry the same consequences and be just as dangerous.

    • Tommy

      Let’s see if everyone reacted like these two if someone says something. It’s better to call someone to order if he or she does something like this. It can easily be another world war mos. Models have brains??