Helen Zille defines ‘black privilege’ as ‘being able to loot a country and get reelected’

The outgoing Western Cape premier got embroiled in a twar with actor Hlomla Dandala.

Outgoing Western Cape premier Helen Zille got herself into of a war of words with actor Hlomla Dandala, which culminated in her responding to a tweet from Dandala accusing her of not understanding “white privilege” by countering that he “doesn’t understand black privilege”.

“You clearly don’t understand white privilege. We had plenty technology here that was eroded/annihilated by colonialism. You did us zero favours by colonising us,” Dandala tweeted, in response to a Twitter user who asked him why he was wearing a suit in his Twitter profile picture, implying that he should not be critiquing colonialism while wearing something “associated with colonial influence”.

“Well you clearly don’t understand black privilege. It is being able to loot a country and steal hundreds of billions and get re-elected. If [people] want permanent poverty for the masses they are going about it the right way,” was Zille’s response.

READ MORE: Now Helen Zille has crossed a line

The tweet got Zille accused of racism, and in response she doubled down, asking: “What is racist about an obviously factual verifiable statement?”

The twar began when a Twitter account shared a clip of an American poet addressing “white privilege” in a poem, with the caption “White privilege? This outburst sounds more like ‘I hate whites'”

Zille responded to the tweet, asking: “Why is she saying this stuff in English?”, at which point Dandala jumped in, tweeting: “Occasionally, you say some really daft things, European Helen in Africa”.

This was the comment that inspired another Twitter to question Dandala’s suit, leading to the “white privilege” vs “black privilege” debate.

Zille’s controversial views on colonialism often get her into trouble on social media.

She first landed in hot water back in March 2017, when the former DA leader tweeted: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”

Despite the scathing response she received on Twitter at the time, Zille continued to justify her view, making further reference to “specialised health care and medication”, which she said would not have been possible without the “colonial influence”.

So great was the uproar that she apologised “unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism”.

READ MORE: Zille must face action over ‘colonialism’ tweet – public protector

The DA took disciplinary action against Zille due to the tweet, with  federal chairperson James Selfe telling News24 in April 2017 that she had been charged “with having broadly brought the party into disrepute and damaging the party”.

This resulted in Zille being suspended from participation in party activities.

She has, however, repeated her view that the legacy of colonialism is not solely negative on Twitter several times since, most recently saying that “the very concept of a state is a legacy of colonialism” in April this year.

(Background reporting, Warren Robertson)

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.




today in print