A Rhodes Scholar and leader in a black activist group at Oxford University posted a Facebook status in which he boasts of stiffing a white waitress on a tip as revenge for colonialism.
Ntokozo Qwabe hails from South Africa, and is studying at Oxford as the beneficiary of a full-ride scholarship created by 19th century British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Despite this, Qwabe became a leader in the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which demands the removal of all memorials to Rhodes on Oxford’s campus. Qwabe claims that Rhodes was “as bad as Hitler” because of his support for the British Empire. (RELATED: Oxford Activists Want To Dump Rhodes, But Not His Scholarship)
Recently Qwabe returned to South Africa, where he visited a cafe with some friends. His own description on Facebook of what happened next is below:
To cut the long story short, we are out at Obz Cafe with [a black non-binary transgender] activist, and the time for the bill comes. Our waitress is a white woman. I ask the said activist what the going rate for tips/gratuity is in these shores. They look at me very reluctantly and they say ‘give me the slip, I’ll sort that out’. I give them the slip.
They take a pen & slip in a note where the gratuity/tip amount is supposed to be entered. The note reads in bold: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”. The waitress comes to us with a card machine for the bill to be sorted out. She sees the note & starts shaking. She leaves us & bursts into typical white tears (like why are you crying when all we’ve done is make a kind request? lol!). Anyways, so this white woman goes to her colleagues who are furious. She exits to cry at the back & a white male colleague of hers reluctantly comes out to address us & to annoy us more with his own white tears telling us that he finds our act “racist”.
We then start breaking it down for this white man & ask him why they are catching feelings when we haven’t even started (like the part where we take up arms hasn’t even come & yall are already out here drowning us in your white tears? Really white people? Wow.). We start drawing him to the political nature of the act & why we couldn’t be bothered that they decided to catch feelings from the note. We tell him it’s great that business as usual has stopped & the pressing issue of land is now on the agenda in that space – seeing the cowntry was celebrating ‘Freedom Day’ yesterday. We then chase him back to do his job. And continue with our conversation before exiting the café.
Moral of the story: the time has come when no white person will be absolved. We are tired of “not all white people” and all other bullshit. We are here, and we want the stolen land back. No white person will be out here living their best life while we are out here being a landless and dispossessed black mass. NO white person shall rest. It is irrelevant whether you personally have land/wealth or you don’t. Go to your fellow white people & mobilise for them to give us the land back. That will be the starting point of all our interactions from now. We will agitate all our spaces with the big question: WHERE IS THE LAND?
Qwabe’s collective denunciation of all white people, and his suggestion that he supports violence against them, have started a backlash online, but Qwabe has refused to back down in any way.
“I hear the white media is going hysterical because a white woman decided to cry over a harmless political statement made in one line on a piece of paper?” Qwabe said in a follow-up Facebook post published Friday. “Because one moment of white tears always makes news despite the everyday unarticulated black pain the dispossessed & landless masses of this cowntry [sic] have to live through! WOW. Whiteness is so weak. Cute actually.”
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