Convicted racist Vicki Momberg appeared on Onkgopotse ‘JJ’ Tabane’s show Your View on Newzroom Afrika on Wednesday night, telling the show’s host that, in her view, racism “is not a crime”.
“I’m not guilty of a crime, I’m guilty of lashing out because of the trauma that I was under,” she continued.
While Momberg feels racism is not a crime, Magistrate Pravina Rugoonandan disagreed, finding Momberg guilty of four counts of crimen injuria last year for calling a black police officer the k-word 48 times when he came to her aid following a smash-and-grab incident.
She was sentenced to three years in prison, one of which one was suspended, in the first case of someone being sent to jail for using South Africa’s most notorious racial slur. She has since attempted to appeal both the verdict and sentence, with judgment on her appeal having been reserved on Tuesday. She has gone through five different legal teams so far, with her last set of lawyers quitting in dramatic fashion after Momberg engaged in a rant in court on Tuesday, speaking directly to the judge despite her lawyers urging her not to do so.
During her interview, she said that she had suffered temporary insanity when she used the racial slur repeatedly.
“It was a temporary state, it was something I suffered for not realising even that it had affected anybody,” she said.
According to Momberg, the trauma she was under led to her using a word that she wouldn’t usually.
“It’s not a word that I would use, it’s not something that’s part of the social circle I belong to, I don’t have a history of using the k-word,” she claimed.
“I landed up being traumatised to the point that I was treated on the side of the road,” she said, seemingly in an attempt to show her outburst was caused by the stress of the smash-and-grab she had endured.
“I went for a bit of counselling and I was put on some medication from the incident.”
She also attempted to defend herself by bringing up examples of black people using the k-word.
“There are programmes like the Trevor Noah show where they promote saying the k-word,” she said, probably referring to his 2012 one-man show That’s Racist, in which he suggested that black people should try and reclaim the word in a similar way to how the n-word has been reclaimed by African Americans.
“Black people have called black people the k-word,” she continued, possibly referring to cases such as the trial of businessman Peter-Paul Ngwenya, who faces charges of crimen injuria for using the slur in reference to Investec chief executive Fani Titi.
In her final attempt to show she wasn’t racist, Momberg said she had “black friends”.
The interview was reacted to on social media with a mixture of outrage, amusement, and bemusement, with some expressing the view that she did not seem “stable”, and others expressing the view that she did not show remorse.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)