#WaydeVanNiekerk: Race and racism debate



August 17, 2016
#WaydeVanNiekerk: Race and racism debate

Olympic world record holder Wayde van Niekerk

Online community gets into bekgeweg about whether the Olympic star represents South Africa or Coloureds.

A race row is brewing on social media over who exactly should be celebrating Olympic gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk’s record-breaking win.

The hashtag #Coloureds has been trending on Twitter since Monday morning after Wayde’s epic 400m finale.

South Africans coming off a high of learning of the 24-year-old’s success at the Rio 2016 Olympics, started questioning who has more right to claim the victory – blacks or coloureds.

Nqeezus tweeted: “Let the coloured community celebrate one of their[s] and celebrate with them just as much as they celebrate black excellence with * .”

Winford also tweeted: “Thus far, Bryan Habana is one of the only celebrated coloured athletes I can name. Wayde’s WR says to coloured kids: “You’re capable too.”

Coloured music star, Kiernan Forbes aka AKA, added his two cents, saying while Wayde’s win was a victory for all, coloured has been stereotyped “to death”, and Wayde’s win is viewed as a massive victory for the community.

He ended off by saying: “If someone can be proudly Zulu for instance… Someone should equally be able to be proudly Coloured.”

But Wayde’s mother, Odessa Swarts, earlier this year said being coloured had very little to do with her son’s success.

“Most of the public post incorrect information on social media saying that Wayde is not being acknowledged because he’s coloured,” she said to the Mail & Guardian newspaper.

“I don’t like that. Within half an hour of me tweeting that he ran sub-10 (for 100m), so many tweets started coming in to me congratulating him.”

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