Penny Sparrow: I am not a racist

Penny Sparrow says the R150,000 fine for her racist Facebook rant is too harsh.

FILE: Penny Sparrow. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Penny Sparrow has broken her silence after being fined R150,000 by the Equality Court for comparing black people to monkeys.

Sparrow has told YOU Magazine that she is not a racist, her punishment is too harsh and the stress of her public shaming has taken its toll on her health.

She sparked an internet storm with her post on Facebook earlier this year about dirty Durban beaches which prompted the African National Congress (ANC) to pursue a hate speech complaint against her.

Sparrow was sentenced in absentia last week.

She is disappointed that her daughter's request for a postponement was dismissed, adding that she was not in KwaZulu-Natal when the matter was heard.

She told YOU Magazine what she thinks of the ruling in an article in which she again tries to explain why she likened black people to monkeys.

"The white way is to say to our children, 'you little monkey'. We don't have hate speech for our children. We love our children. Even my animals, if they're naughty and pull things out of the dustbin I also say, 'you naughty little monkeys'."

Sparrow goes on to say she is "truly sorry" and never meant to insult anyone with her comments.

Vilified on social media, the former estate agent is jobless and living with friends.

She left her home of 23 years on the south coast after allegedly receiving death threats.

Feeling condemned by society, she says she has been "torn away" from her family.

"I'm very ill with this sugar, it goes right up and they can't get it right because there's so much stress because I've been accused of something I'm not."