Cyril Ramaphosa Image Credit: ShutterStock

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa: ‘Young Men, Stay Strong and Do Not Fear White People’

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South African president Cyril Ramaphosa encouraged his citizens not to be intimidated by their white counterparts during a speech delivered at the 111th-anniversary celebrations for the African National Conference (ANC) at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung.

Last month, police in South Africa charged a white man with attempted murder and have charged two others with assault following a savage attack on Black teenagers trying to use an alleged “whites only” swimming pool on Christmas Day. The young, Black youths were later identified as Kgokong Nakedi, 18, and his 13-year-old cousin. In the video, a white man is seen choking and hitting a Black teen in the face and, later, has his hair pulled by a second white male. He then shoves the second Black teenager into the pool, placing him in a headlock and attempting to force him underwater. The video of the attack went viral, garnering tens of thousands of highly emotional reactions worldwide.

Johan Nel, 33, and Jan van der Westhuizen, 47, both face charges of common assault. Kobus Klaassen, 47, faces an additional charge of attempted murder.

“They harassed us because we are Black,” Nakedi told News Central TV. “They said we were not allowed to swim in the pool because it is for whites only.”

“We thank them that they are still alive. I saw one of them hitting one of the men with a fist. We thank you young men and we are saying what happened to you must not discourage you. You must be strong as young men,” said Ramaphosa during his address. “The message I want to give to you is that the spirit of our forebears who fought against the apartheid system must fill you with courage as it does all of us.”

Officially, apartheid in South African ended more than three decades ago. Bloemfontein is the birthplace of the National Party.

“Ke ya leboha bashimane le dule le tiile, le seke la tshaba makgoa [Thank you, young men, stay strong and do not fear white people]. Don’t fear white people, their time has passed, and they no longer have power, their apartheid is gone. Stay strong, young men,” Ramaphosa said.

“To those in our country who still want to perpetuate racism, we say…today we do not want racists here in South Africa. If you want to practice your racist tendencies, South Africa is not the place to come and do that. If you practice racism, we will make sure that you feel the might of the law because the people of South Africa will never, ever allow racism to reign in our country again, as Nelson Mandela the father of our democracy, said.”

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