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South African MP Phumzile Van Damme Punches White Man During Alleged Racist Incident

By Danielle Dorsey

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South African MP Phumzile Van Damme claims that she punched a white man who was threatening her with racial violence. The incident occurred at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, a popular tourist site, when a white man stepped in between an argument van Damme was having with a white woman.

The Shadow Minister for Communications detailed the incident in a video posted on Twitter, saying that the quarrel began while she was standing in line at the supermarket. A white woman told Van Damme that she would push her aside and when Van Damme went outside, the woman appeared to be waiting for her with her family in tow. When Van Damme confronted the woman and asked why she was staring at her in a confrontational manner, the woman replied “It’s because you’re Black.”

Van Damme said that the man who was with the woman began threatening violence so she punched him in the head in self-defense. In her details of the incident on Twitter, Van Damme expressed disappointment with how the V&A Waterfront had handled the incident, which did not take action against the family for their actions.

The V&A Waterfront has since apologized to van Damme on Twitter. “We regret this incident, which we did not handle with the necessary objectivity, respect and empathy,” it tweeted.

The incident comes days after the 43rd anniversary of the Soweto Youth Uprising in which 20,000 Black South African students challenged the ruling Apartheid government. The revolt drew international attention and helped fortify anti-Apartheid movements.

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