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Rajesh Gopie: Racist post lands actor in trouble

Well-known South African Indian actor, theatre personality Rajesh Gopie stirred racial tensions in a Facebook post shortly after a rampage occurred at the Moses Mabhida stadium in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mobs of fans unleashed their anger after a soccer match where Kaizer Chiefs, a local soccer club suffered a 2-0 defeat against Free State Stars.

The fans stormed the grounds to vent their dismay at the loss of their soccer team in the match, millions of rands of damage were incurred and injuries were sustained by stadium security. 

Gopie wrote: “Yah, and the Baboons like soccer too much so they want to play with human heads.”

Former eThekwini Municipality councillor Eunice David urged Gopie to remove the post.

David said the comment was racist.

ALSO READ: Indian or not: You are a racist, Rajesh Gopie

“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.

The social media post by Gopie that he later removed.

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.

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Cases of racist incidents

Penny Sparrow caused a furore over her racist comments where she likened blacks as ‘monkeys’ this landed up causing her to be found guilty of hate speech and was fined R150 000 in 2016.

Another case that made history in South Africa was the case of Vicki Momberg who was sentenced to three years imprisonment after she called police officers the k-word.

Another case that is pending is against Devi Munisami whose tirade on social media where she called editor of Indian Spice a ‘faggot.’

Sources: The Mercury Newspaper, Facebook