The Ashwin Willemse saga has brought up a few thoughts that I would like to share:
The immediate reaction by politicians, social media and also some opinions on News24 portray the attitude that Nick Mallet and Naas Botha had bullied Willemse by making racist remarks or acting in a manner that made him feel inferior because of his race. These remarks and commentary were made without any confirmation of what actually transpired. I would like to play devil‘s advocate and paint the following picture as we are all guessing here.
Ashwin and Nick haven‘t gotten along for some time now.
Nick feels that Ashwin is unprofessional in his job by not pitching for work on time and not preparing for his presentations. Ashwin is irritated at all the jibes he receives from Nick, who is trying to get him to do his job.
After yet again not preparing for his presentation Nick arranges that Ashwin do his presentation first as to get him to understand that he could not rely on his co-presenters to do his job for him everytime – he gets paid after all.
Ashwin declines the opportunity to present first as he has not prepared. He refers the commentary back to Naas and Nick at which time they both break out laughing as he has been taught a lesson.
Ashwin are now fuming at the humiliation and walks off the set.
The point I am making is that this whole episode could just as easily have been caused by Willemse not being professional at his job.
These presenters have been appointed on the basis that they should have panel discussions and obviously there would be disagreement. I sincerely hope that this matter is not swept under the rug, if Nick Mallet or Naas Botha treated Ashwin in any any way on the basis of his race they should be fired.
In the same token Ashwin Willemse has been appointed as a professional presenter. If it is found that there are any issues with his work ethic or that he doesn‘t have the capability to argue a point without losing his cool and then playing the race card unnecessarily I would expect him to be fired as well.
There is no excuse for racism or incompetence. Racism fuels hatred against each other and incompetence fuels beliefs of racial superiority to those who believe it, a never ending vicious cycle.