Mixed reaction to 'blackface' saga

Two students attended a private party with their faces painted brown and material stuffed into their pants.

FILE: Two students attended a private party with their faces painted brown and material stuffed into their pants. Picture: Supplied to EWN.

CAPE TOWN - While several members of the public have reacted with outrage and anger to pictures of two University of Pretoria students dressed up as black domestic workers, many have also dismissed the antics as harmless fun.

The two young women have been charged with bringing the university's name into disrepute after the pictures were posted on Facebook.

The students attended a private party with their faces painted brown, material stuffed into their pants to make their behinds look bigger and headscarves on their heads.

Writer and race commentator T.O. Molefe says he is surprised people are even debating whether 'blackface' is offensive or not.

"This a gross caricature of the prototype of the black female body. People don't understand the power that stereotypes have in normalising decentralised views about people."

Photographer Victor Dlamini says the students exhibit the prejudices of a previous generation.

"It's really ridiculous to speak of a 'born free' generation because when I look at these young people they are behaving like their parents."

University of Pretoria management has described the conduct as unacceptable.