Caster Semenya defends ‘racist’ Nike shoe

Caster Semenya shared a picture of Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) vehicles to drive home her point.
Caster Semenya shared a picture of Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) vehicles to drive home her point.
Image: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Champion athlete Caster Semenya has defended Nike sneakers that raised eyebrows because their colours are similar to those of the old SA flag. 

This after some of her followers, including transport minister Fikile Mbalula, questioned whether Nike knew they resembled those on the flag.

“What are this (sic) colours. They look like old apartheid flag,” said Mbalula.

AfriForum’s Ernst Roets also commented on a picture of the sneaker Semenya shared, asking whether she just committed hate speech.

Responding to Mbalula, Semenya told him where to get off by sharing a picture of Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) vehicles which bear colours similar to the flag. 

“Some comments are so disappointing coming from our leaders thoughts. After all, those are just colours,” said Semenya.

Old flag ban

In August, the equality court ruled that the “gratuitous display of the old flag” constituted hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment.

The ruling was made when the court considered a matter brought by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

Judge president Phineas Mojapelo said displaying the flag was racist and discriminatory.

“Those who display the old flag consciously and deliberately choose not to display the new democratic, all-uniting, non-racial flag. They choose oppression over liberating symbols. They intend to insult and awaken feelings of white supremacy,” he said.


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