Analysis

The Media & Right-Wing Lynch Mob

HOW is it that in the last 24 hours, following the outrage by whites over Zindzi Mandela’s tweets on the land question, several news publications have reported that the Nelson Mandela Foundation wanted a meeting with her? The Foundation’s spokesperson this morning, rejected the newspaper articles. He claimed he spoke to one journalist who wrote an entire piece based on the Foundation’s response of “no comment”. 

Reporting in the Independent, Baldwin Ndaba wrote that the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Luzuko Koti had refuted claims the Foundation sought a meeting with Zindzi was “not a true reflection of a comment” he gave to a journalist. “We were contacted by a journalist about our views on tweets by Zindzi Mandela. Our reaction was no comment. So the journalist turned the “no comment” reaction into a story with no factual basis.

But who is this journalist? At the time of publishing, Koti had not responded to the question of the identity of the journalist. 

The first report I could find online came from City Press by Jacob Rooi, posted on 2019-06-16 14:23. The headline changed right before my eyes this morning as I was reading the article. 

Nelson Mandela Foundation ‘won’t meet with Zindzi Mandela’ over tweets

It was followed by The Citizen

An article by Citizen under the byline Citizen Reporter said “The Nelson Mandela Foundation was seeking to meet with South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela following tweets on land”. There’s no reference to the person with whom the unidentified reporter spoke. It doesn’t tell us on what basis the Foundation sought the meeting and the issues that would be raised.

The report then follows on with the tweets which Zindzi allegedly posted. This has been the line of reporting – the tweets followed by the demands by right-wing groups Afriforum and FF+ for Zindzi to be fired from her job as Denmark’s ambassador. 

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