National

Facebook racism victim found -- alive

Staff Reporter

The boy in a Facebook picture lying apparently lifeless while a white man stands over his body with a rifle is alive, the City Press says.

The boy shown in a Facebook picture lying apparently lifeless while a white man stands over his body with a rifle is alive and well, the City Press reported on Sunday.

The boy’s father said: “My boy is fine. He is alive ... The child was never in danger. Nothing bad happened to him. We just laughed and forgot about it then,” he says of the 2008 picture.

The father said he was not angry or offended and that the image was supposed to be a joke.

The father had worked as a foreman on the white man’s family farm for the last 14 years in Bloemhof in the North West, the newspaper reported.

He said his son often spent time with him and the white man on the farm doing rounds. The boy, apparently tired, fell asleep on a patch of grass.

“We found it amusing that the boy lay like a dead person. [The white man] told me that I should pick him up and place him in the shadows and asked if he could take a picture of him. [The white man] had his rifle which he shoots pigeons with. I gave him permission to pose with the child and the rifle,” he said.

The father describes the white man as a “cool person” saying: “He does not hate black people. He likes playing around with black children and takes them along when he goes around the farm. They teach him Setswana and he teaches them Afrikaans. He loves my son. When he does well at school, he gives him money.”

‘A good boy’
The boy’s mother said the white man is “a good boy. Even my son loves him a lot and is always travelling with him when he is on the farm. I hope people will not cause him any trouble.”

In a sworn affidavit, the boy’s father said the roles in the picture were reversed in a 2008 year-end braai at the farm, where the little boy posed and stood with a rifle over the man’s body.

Louis Vertue, a lawyer representing the man, said he was worried.

“If people who don’t know the real story recognise him from the picture he could be in danger. He is not a racist as has been reported. He is shocked by the whole thing and doesn’t know how the whole thing got in the media,” he said.

Despite the father’s assurances, the hunt is still on for the person responsible for uploading the picture on the social networking site along with racist comments, the Sunday Times reported.

There have been renewed calls for the government to amend legislation to criminalise racist hate crimes.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela told City Press that even though there was no investigation at the moment, the Hawks were reviewing a docket opened in 2008 after a cellphone containing the picture was found at a road accident scene near Schweizer Reneke.—Sapa

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