Lorenzo White has apologised for social media posts mocking farm murder victims earlier this month. White, a politician, activist and “Independent journalist”, according to his Twitter bio, posted a collage of farm murder victims with swollen faces and captioned it: “Best makeup artist ever! Nice Job.”
His posts caused an uproar from social media users, who lodged complaints with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
In a statement on Wednesday, the SAHRC confirmed it was investigating a complaint it received regarding social media utterances glorifying farm murders.
“The Commission views the incitement or call for violence directed against persons on the basis of their race or any other prohibited basis as listed in the Constitution and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (PEPUDA), in an extremely serious light and is investigating the matter.
“For social cohesion to thrive within South Africa, the safety and freedoms of all South Africans need to be guaranteed and thus the State, particularly the South African Police Service (SAPS) needs to ensure the safety of all within South Africa from the scourge of crime – including crimes committed on farms.
“However, accompanying racism and utterances directed at glorifying these horrific crimes, especially those directed at particular groups on the basis of race, should have no place within South Africa,” it said.
White has now apologised for the pain his tweets caused “especially to those in the farming industry”, saying his intentions were never to hurt anyone.
He said his tweets were taken out of context.
“Last but not least I want to say sorry to the family and friends of the victims of these brutal attacks. I’m also very sorry that it took me this long to admit and address my mistake. Let it be known, my intention was never to hurt or insult anyone and most of my tweets were interpreted out of context.
“As a human rights activist I’m committed to fighting for the rights of every individual and this fight has absolutely no limits, regardless of nationality. race or gender. I believe that many of the individuals I offended forwarded my tweets to the South African Human Rights Commission. This was an act of patriotism and duty,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
White said he was ready to accept any of the prescribed consequences for his actions, further vowing to work with other activists to combat farm murders.
“I am committed to listen to and learn from the voices and lived experiences different from my own. I commit to doing better as an individual. Moving forward and knowing the danger our farmers face, I’ll work with social media activists and various organisations combatting this human rights violation.
“I will contact them soon and hope that they are prepared to work with me.
“I Lorenzo White hereby unconditionally condemn the killing, torture and murder of farmers and vow to seek justice for the victims of these brutal #FarmMurders! I pledge my support and allegiance to every activist calling for government intervention and public condemnation,” he said.
While some have accepted his apology, others, however, said like Penny Sparrow and Adam Catzavelos, he should face the consequences of his social media posts in court.