3 Men Charged After Attacking 2 Black Teens at South Africa Pool They Said Was ‘Whites Only:’ Report

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The incident has been widely condemned, including by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Three white men have been charged with a Christmas Day attack on two Black teenagers at a pool the men allegedly said was “Whites Only” in Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa, according to reports.

Video of the incident has gone viral after it was posted to social media and shows the three men allegedly attacking the teens for wanting to use the pool in the province, which is located four hours south of Johannesburg, The New York Times reported.

In the video clip, the teens are told that the pool is for “whites only.” The footage shows one man slapping one of the teenagers in the face with an open hand. That teen was grappled by another white man and pushed against a fence then pulling him into the pool. That man appears to then try to submerge the teenager’s head underwater, the video shows. Another teenager’s hair was pulled by another man during the attack, according to The Times.  

Security video footage from the day reportedly shows the men attempting to prevent the teens from entering the pool while a group of white people that were swimming at the time exit the water as the teens enter it, ABC News reported.

Johan Nel, 33, and Jan Stephanus van der Westhuizen, 47, were released on a warning and are expected to appear again in court next year, according to reports.

“The two appeared in court on charges of assault common and crimen injuria (which is the unlawful and intentional impairment of someone's dignity) and the matter was postponed to 25 January 2023 while being released on warning,” Police Commissioner Baile Motswenyane said in a statement.

A third unnamed man is expected in court this week to be charged with attempted murder, according to reports.

“They harassed us because we are Black," one of the alleged victims, Kgokong Nakedi, 18, said to News Central TV. "They said we were not allowed to swim in the pool because it is for 'whites only.' It was the first holiday season the entire family had spent together since the pandemic. My main concern was the safety of my younger brother in this situation."

Nakedi is reportedly the son of Brian Nakedi, a former underground fighter against apartheid, The Times reported.

The incident has been widely condemned, including by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“As Black and white South Africans, we should be united in condemning all manifestations of racism and attempts to explain or defend such crimes,” Ramaphosa said in a statement. “It is deplorable that adults dealing with teenagers resort to violence with such disturbing ease."

The incident comes nearly 30 years since Apartheid fell in South Africa when Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected Black president, took office, marking the end of the extreme segregation rules that were officially formed in 1948.

South Africa has since proudly called itself a “Rainbow Nation,” but despite advances in unification and the Truth and Reconciliation Trials in the '90s, the country has still had many racist incidents. Bloemfontein, the area in which this recent incident occurred, is the capital of Free State Province, and throughout history has been a hotbed of racial violence among Black and white South Africans. The area was once the independent Boer Republic for the white Afrikaans settlers from the Netherlands and those who eventually led to the orchestration of the country’s apartheid regime.

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