Sunday Times' "Facebook racist" pic +3yrs old
29 August 2011

Inflammatory image given front page splash extensively reported on in 2008

On Sunday the Sunday Times - under the heading "Wanted: Facebook racist" - led with a story about a picture of a white man posing "over the apparently lifeless body of a black child - like a hunter celebrating his kill." It said that the "undated picture", which it published prominently on its front page, "is on the social networking site in the profile of a user called ‘Eugene Terrorblanche'" and that "While it is not known if the photograph is genuine or has been manipulated, a child protection charity has expressed concern for the well being of the youngster."

The newspaper had sent a link of the picture to the Hawks unit of the South African Police Service and they had immediately launched an investigation. "The search is now on for the person or persons responsible for the picture, for whoever created the user profile and for those who have seen the photograph but failed to report it."

Although the Sunday Times' did not date the picture or establish whether it was posed, digitally created or real, its report was picked up by AFP which sent the story around the world.

The picture, seemingly documenting, at the very least, the degradation of a black child by a white man, provoked a Tsunami of fury and outrage. DA leader, Helen Zille, released a statement calling for "all South Africans to assist in finding the originators of this picture so that the law can take its course."

At about the point where this tidal wave was peaking Mandy Wiener, the Eye Witness News reporter and author of Killing Kebble, commented on Twitter that she was " surprised by Sunday Times lead story re Facebook racism. I did the story for EWN several years ago & it was well known then."

In a follow up message she said that in May 2008 "EWN exposed the picture which is on the front page of the SunTimes on a FB group called 'Ek laaik nie 'n houtkop nie so what'." In answer to a query as to whether the man with the rifle was ever tracked down she added: "I tried at the time and seem to recall it was a hoax."

The story on the racist Facebook group - established by a few students at the University of the North West - was extensively reported on in the press in early October 2008. A Sapa report on October 6 2008 stated:

"The North West University (NWU) on Monday expressed shock over the existence of a racist group on Facebook and the involvement of some of its students as officers of the group...It was reported that the group called "ek laaik nie 'n houtkop nie, sou what" (I do not like a 'houtkop', so what?) contains inflammatory comments posted by members. The group apparently also showed a photograph of a young white man holding a gun while posing over the trophy of a young black boy lying on the ground."

The Facebook group and the photograph were subsequently mentioned in reports and analyses in Beeld, Die Burger, Volksblad, the Independent Group newspapers and the Mail & Guardian. (In November 2008 a student linked to the page was expelled from the university, an action which again received extensive coverage in the press.)

The Times, then edited by Ray Hartley, also reported on the incident. In an article (October 7 2008) it stated that the university's management and the Human Rights Commission had been alerted to the existence of the Facebook page. Adding: "the ‘k-word' is used frequently page, and a picture of a white man holding a gun while standing over a young black boy on the ground is displayed. The picture has been removed."

On Twitter on Sunday Hartley - now editor of the Sunday Times - defended the decision to publish this extremely racist image on the front page of his newspaper despite its being at least three years old, saying: "Our story is about an extremely racist image being published on Facebook now, in 2011. We must find the person who published this image."

Update: Beeld reports that the Hawks are now saying that the police had already investigated the photo in 2007. The man concerned told the police back then that he had paid the child to lie like that.

The Times report October 7 2008:


For more read Chris Vick's analysis, in the Daily Maverick, of the whole debacle.

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter


Subscribe to newsletters
News feeds

Share this article

Facebook Facebook Google Google
Yahoo! Yahoo! Digg Digg



If you come across comments that are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate; contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs, please report them and they will be removed.
 responses to this article

Appropriate Focus?
And now the Hawks are to INVESTIGATE such racial C*** rather than go after the REAL criminals, such as the corrupt politicians that have pocketed millions in the arms deal????? What a scandal....

The AGM of honest ANC officials is to be held . .more

by Huh?? on August 29 2011, 03:23
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Never trust Ray Hartley again

This was an attempt - by the Sunday Times - to burn down the whole country.

Hartley is no different from the maker of the image, whose purpose was exactly the same.

These newspapers have not changed at all.

Hartley, go to . .more

by Domza on August 29 2011, 04:56
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

3 Year old story
Three years ago they could not find who was behind it. Now it is again dished up.

This smells of "agents provocateurs".

Apartheid and racial tensions must be kept alive to divert the attention of the dismal failures of the ANC regime and . .more

by James Bell on August 29 2011, 07:42
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Red Herrings to divert disgust from ANC corruption and failures
Two weeks ago the Sunday Times invented so-called corruption in the DA. Now this utterly disgusting pretence at journalism. Time to go, Ray.

by Pieter Schoombee on August 29 2011, 07:59
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Local media is in a mess
There are racist, bigoted, disgusting pages all over Facebook. There's also the facility to report them and have them removed. I'm trying to think of one media source that actually reports the facts, as they are, without adding "blog"-type opinions . .more

by Dianne Bayley on August 29 2011, 08:01
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Look. The Sunday Times is going downhill and has been for some years now...
So it seems the editor, as is his right, sees fit to publish pre -published old news in this direction in a bid to be sensational and up sales. AVUSA also needs to boost profiles it seems in light of the impending sale of the company. But the AVUSA . .more

by Ben on August 29 2011, 08:12
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

This is a good example of a paper that have long ago sold their soul, and now have nothing to offer. Shame on them and let us understand that they will do anything, just to sell a few papers more. Just do not support them anymore, nothing hurts them . .more

by concerned citizen on August 29 2011, 08:15
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Good work
Nice work Ray. You've basically destroyed your reputation in one foul swoop, dragging up this image which is old news and has already been investigated to death. Sunday Times were always known as a tabloid racist paper but now it's confirmed. Oh the . .more

by John on August 29 2011, 08:20
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

The desperation of newspaper in serious decline
Let's boost our black readership because we are trying to impress a potential buyer of the paper - first off lets sell the paper in black areas on the side of the road for half price to boost circulation figures - then we fabricate a story against the DA . .more

by Sad Days on August 29 2011, 08:41
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

to Ray
Ray, you are a disgrace. your newspaper is a disgrace - how you keep your head up high in public is beyond me, you should be ashamed of yourself. you have become the example i will hold up to my daughter of what a journalist must not become - a spineless . .more

by sonja o on August 29 2011, 09:09
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

No other headlines available
I suppose week after week of ST headlines exposing ANC cadres stealing money from tax payers Ray had to find something different to avoid reader fatigue. So he digs up a sensational four year old story and rehashes it on his front page and in the process, . .more

by Airwolf on August 29 2011, 09:09
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Another story to deliberately throw darkies off..It is becoming widly known
in the black communities that the newspapers are anti-black. Any black success is somehow associated with corruption. These back executies and leaders are paraded on front-page non-stop as if they own 80% of the economy - you never ever hear front-page . .more

by mximm on August 29 2011, 09:13
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Ray Hartley is a disgrace
2 weeks ago Ray Hartley's attempt to damage the DA's integrity backfired. That was shoddy journalism in itself but the latest case lowers his standard to below zero.

Now, in an obvious second attempt to ingratiate himself with the ANC, he puts a . .more

by Nikki on August 29 2011, 09:27
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Sunday Times
Whites hail the ST when it exposes black crime and corruption but when it comes to whites, it is bashed till kingdom come. You people are not infallible. You complain about farms attacks but when it is the farm workers who suffer. No one cares.

by Palesa on August 29 2011, 09:37
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

The soul of a (white) South African
This article and the comments above gives us a glimpse into the soul of a white South African. The fact that this was reported in 2008 and an investigation by both Mandy Wiener (the journalist) and the police proved inconclusive makes it right I . .more

by Velesazi on August 29 2011, 10:24
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

So you want an 'old' issue like the Arms Deal to be reivisted and yet this must be put to rest and forgotten about?

This is the double standards that we have to live with from some of our white countrymen?!?!?! When it suits them, and when it . .more

by Sumbodi on August 29 2011, 10:37
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

I wonder what a genuinely good journalist like Guy Berger thinks of this?

by john kalala on August 29 2011, 10:46
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Look Over There NOT AT ME!
Now thats much better for a bit of distraction whilst we rape this country and its brain dead moronic racist electorate. Keep those investigators busy chasing photoshop. Close down the public protector whilst they are not looking. Your advertising . .more

by Dr Ubani on August 29 2011, 10:48
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@ Velesazi
Perhaps what the ST should print is the over a hundred thousand killings of Blacks, by ANC thugs, during the supposed struggle. You know the ones - necklacing, the much favoured method of killing, anyone who did not conform to the wishes of the ANC. . .more

by Open Minded on August 29 2011, 11:10
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Re: Facebook racist
You were correct in running this story and we need more people to raise these issues on a public platform and especially with media were it gains mass attention- racism and crimes of racist natures such as these need to be dealt with severely!! Whether a . .more

by tammy on August 29 2011, 12:14
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Open Minded
What I am saying is that we should never condone wrong doing of any kind. All I seem to be sensing in this debate is that our white counterparts are failing to condem this act outrightly. I think the arms deal should be properly investigated, I think Jeff . .more

by Velesazi on August 29 2011, 12:19
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Diverting Attention???
This is not diverting any attention from all the other wrongs in this country. It is PART of all the other wrongs in this country.

by Sumbodi on August 29 2011, 12:36
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

another nail in the ST coffin ... plus the false flags are a-flying in the wind
The Sin-a-day Slimes is the most discredited rag in SA. Let's not forget that this latest "expose" comes in the wake of a damning report commissioned by the ST itself into the poor quality of its "journalism" - a report that the ST tried to keep from the . .more

by Realist on August 29 2011, 13:49
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

An interesting point: If the guy posing with the gun is white, and the boy pretending to be shot is black, it is an example of white racism.

If the situation is reversed and someone spreads around a picture with a "brutal" black man holding a . .more

by SamSly on August 29 2011, 15:33
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

beyond words
That has to be one of the most disgusting images that I have ever seen. The product of an infantile mind who deserves no place in mainstream South African society.

What is even worse, is that once again the Sunday Times proves to all of us . .more

by voter on August 29 2011, 15:43
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Mr Nkululeko, why is Haiti poor and Iceland wealthy?
Now why would the ST re-circulate, at this time, pics that were old and already in the press more than 3 years ago?

Perhaps to do some anti-white propaganda? I mean Juju has been calling for the killing of all whites, and now the ST has to . .more

by JVR on August 29 2011, 15:56
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Bad journalism
Either it's an attempt at inflammatory journalism, or it's simply bad journalism. Either is embarrassing for the ST.

I just have to suppress a chuckle when I see people saying that such a picture is "harmless fun" or such comments. While the . .more

by Johnathan on August 29 2011, 16:23
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@ nkululeko
Nkululeko, do you realise that the country's borders are quite arbitrary, and that racial groupings and country of birth are likewise arbitrary? What if I declared that the majority of people in my neighbourhood are "white" people and therefore only white . .more

by Johnathan on August 29 2011, 16:28
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

@ Velesazi
Velesazi, let me tell you that, as a white person, I would not want to associate with the people involved in taking that picture. Not even because of any racist ideals that they might have, but simply because they are obviously dumber than a bag of wet . .more

by Johan on August 29 2011, 16:32
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

FAKE facebook pic vs REAL photos of crime victims
If the Sin-a-day Slimes really wanted to print some shocking photos about ACTUAL crimes it would publish photos of white farmers who have been brutally attacked and murdered. There are quite a few websites that show gruesome photos of REAL crime victims. . .more

by Realist on August 29 2011, 17:24
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

P******* Little Paper
Oh, how P******* has the Sunday Times become. First the embarrassing DA tender story and now, surprise, another embarrassing storty - three years old and discounted. If all else fails, pull out the old race card.

by Wingnut on August 29 2011, 17:50
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Abuse of any kind is totally unacceptable. Irrespective of whether this is a hoax or not, the damage is done. At very least, if this is true, the question we should be asking, if no one has been charged, then why not and what have the police to say. Is . .more

by Open Minded on August 29 2011, 17:52
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Who is going to discipline the Editor of the Sunday Times?
Publication of that old picture is no less than inciting racial hatred. The feeble-minded creature who made the picture is just that, a feeble-minded twit; but for the Editor of a major Sunday paper to plaster it all over the country on the front page of . .more

by Jason on August 29 2011, 18:07
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

SA and our P******* society
A few years ago SASCO regularly plundered property at the UFS in Bloem. Millions of Rands in damages over the years!. A few days before the Reitz-4 saga they plundered again. The Reitz-4 incident happened and suddenly the media, DA, ANC and others went . .more

by Republican on August 29 2011, 18:19
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

The looting you speak of is mainly the work of the ANC and its cadres! See how Cele and Mahlangu-Nkabinde tried to push R1.7 billion in unlawful leases Roux Shabangu's way, the aforementioned R1.7 billion being an overcharge of about R1 billion which in . .more

by Mute Fool on August 29 2011, 18:21
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

I LIKE your idea a lot!! If only for the fact that it would shut-UP a lot of these idots attacking "whites". Since nobody wants to acknowledge the whites' contibution to making this country great DESPITE the drag of the black burden, why not let us PROVE . .more

by CA Bez on August 29 2011, 18:24
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Racist Picture
The creator/s of that picture have sick minds and the publishers of the picture are worse. This is pure racial incitement and should be punishable. The motive is as clear as daylight, however, incitement and hype sell more news papers. Shame on you . .more

by Xolani on August 29 2011, 20:59
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Well said Xolani

by voter on August 29 2011, 21:18
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Media darlings
These are the persons and things that sell newspapers and/or generate outrage.

At the moment the media go on and on and on about Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing. They are re-inforcing Malema's image as a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON; without the . .more

by Mute Fool on August 29 2011, 22:08
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

anc behind this
.....funny at the time when the finalisation of the info bill, this old emotional story has resurfaced....almost makes one think that the anc is behind this to create an emotional plenary to justify sensorship of the media.....its called propaganda...

by onlooker on August 29 2011, 22:19
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

our country
never again will a white man govern this country,posing over a littlle black child like he is displaying his trophy after its kill.pathethic,we will fight for this country and will never ever allow the white man to dictate to us,this is our country,we are . .more

by naviek ramdeyal on August 29 2011, 23:07
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Of course what makes this all the more beguiling is if you were a murderer why would you run this on your facebook page? To gloat, to torment potential victims, to remind everyone what a real bad A** you are, how much you hate colored people or simply . .more

by scallywag on August 30 2011, 03:41
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it


by MTHOBISI MTHIMKHULU on August 30 2011, 10:24
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

MM has a point, but then again, issues like this are mere symptoms of the real scourge afflicting SA and if racial harmony is not driven by the govt as a national priority, SA will carry on unravelling in the dirt like it is doing now - I see it like . .more

by Gdoyi on August 31 2011, 15:06
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Recycling the news
The Sunday Times should really consider re-running the Sharpville Massacre. It is a great story and if policing methods are contrasted with the latest Luthuli House riots, some good lessons will be learned.

by Guy Mullins on September 03 2011, 21:32
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

facebook racist
the facebook racist is known other than an attention seeker,he could of displayed a pic of a white ,indian or any other race,he knows the political situation of this beautiful country and used the finest of resources to get the necessary is . .more

by naviek ramdeyal on October 10 2011, 19:59
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it

Boy alive and well
If you followed the story like I did and read the follow up, the father of the boy came forward and said that his three year old sun fell asleep while waiting for his father to finish his work. The farmer came upon the sleeping boy after hunting for the . .more

by ewan on October 11 2011, 16:56
Find this comment inappropriate? Report it