Drum journalist beaten up in Bloemfontein

A Drum magazine journalist was beaten up in what is believed to have been a racial attack in a café in Bloemfontein on Thursday night, the magazine said.

Free State police confirmed on Friday they were investigating a charge of assault. Superintendent Annelie Wrensch said the investigation followed an incident at a restaurant on Second Avenue.

Drum magazine said in a statement that the journalist was beaten up in what was believed to be a racial attack.

Drum condemns the incident and believes there is no place for such racist behaviour,” said deputy editor Elmari Rautenbach on Friday.

Themba Makamo, who turned 26 on Thursday; a colleague from Huisgenoot, Lucia Swart; and photographer Papi Moraki were in Café on Second Avenue in the city close to midnight after reporting on the unrest sparked by the controversial “Reitz hostel” video.

“A burly white man, according to people present not a student, accosted Makamo at his table, later following him to the bathroom where he headbutted, kicked and punched him in the face after asking the men in the bathroom if they ‘hou van kaffers [like kaffirs]’,” said Rautenbach.

Makamo reported the matter to the police.
He had to receive stitches for his injuries.

The owners of the café told Drum they regretted the incident and had a policy of evicting brawlers or anyone making racial comments. They were working with the police to help identify the attacker.

Makamo has been working for Drum since the middle of last year.

The Reitz video, which sparked a national outcry, depicts black University of the Free State employees on their knees eating food that had apparently been urinated on by white students. It was filmed last year by students from the Reitz men’s residence at the university.

It shows a mock initiation of five black staff members into hostel activities and refers openly to the university’s integration policy for campus residences.

On Thursday, the university named the filmmakers as Roelof Malherbe and Schalk van der Merwe, both current students, and Danie Grobler and Johnny Roberts, who are former students.

A criminal investigation is under way.—Sapa