Lobby group AfriForum has released a statement calling on Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, to dismiss South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela, following the series of #OurLand tweets that got her trending on Twitter over the weekend.
The tweets – from an unverified Twitter account that appears to be that of Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s daughter Zindzi – have been met with outrage as well as support, dividing Twitter on mainly although not entirely racial lines.
Zindzi has not yet spoken about the tweets or the backlash to them on any platform other than Twitter and attempts to contact her by The Citizen have been unsuccessful so far.
AfriForum described the tweets as “extremely divisive” and racist” in an Afrikaans statement, calling for Mandela to be recalled.
The lobby group’s deputy CEO, Alana Bailey, said “an ambassador’s duty is to represent all the inhabitants of the country who designate him or her, to promote their interests without favour or prejudice and to be an advocate for all. In addition, he or she must convey the image of a healthy and united country to win the confidence of political partners and investors.”
“With her Twitter messages, Mandela has demonstrated a hateful attitude towards white people in the country and publicly contributed to the division of local communities,” Bailey continued.
“Her false claims and humiliating descriptions of white South Africans as ‘cowards’ and ‘land thieves’ contribute to a dangerous discourse that creates scapegoats.
“Her defense – that she is entitled to her personal opinion – shows a complete lack of insight into the responsibilities of her post.
“It is also inconsistent with the country’s constitution, which clearly states that South Africa belongs to everyone.
The statement also asks “whose interests” Mandela represents and “how much work will be needed” to undo the “reputational damage” she has caused.
Bailey feels that the country has suffered due to the stances on human rights issues taken by diplomats in recent years. She expressed a hope in the statement that Pandor will be able to undo reputational damage she believes was caused by these diplomats, adding that the way Pandor “handles ambassador Mandela” will determine whether or not this “hope is justified”.