Capital FM (Nairobi)

29 April 2014

Kenya: SA Minister Slurs Kenya Swimmers

Photo: Government of South Africa
South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula (file photo).

Nairobi — South Africa ruling party ANC may be forced to apologise to Kenya after its Sports and Recreational Minister, Fikile Mbalula, said the country's swimmers would 'drown in the pool' at the Olympics in a terrible gaffe.

South Africa's Mail and Guardian reported on their website Tuesday that Mbalula made the snide remarks during a meeting between editors and top ANC leaders to address various issues affecting the Rainbow Nation.

"You can't transform sports without targets. But at the same time, South Africa wouldn't be like Kenya and send athletes to the Olympics to drown in the pool," the publication quoted Mbalula saying.

The minister was responding to a question on the theme of social cohesion, when a reporter questioned the issue of some national teams remaining stubbornly white.

"The comment was met with some titters in the room and an embarrassed grin from the rest of the assembled ANC leaders. The comment also drew some alarm on Twitter," the Mail and Guardian wrote on their website, mg.co.za.

The country's president and ANC leader, Jacob Zuma, made a similar gaffe in October last year when he said, "We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It's not some national road in Malawi," in a slur interpreted to paint Malawi as backward.

That incident saw South Africa's top diplomat in Lilongwe summoned to explain the remark by the aggrieved Malawi government and it remains to be seen whether Kenya will follow suit and demand an apology.

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InFocus

Outcry Over SA Minister's Kenya Comment

South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula (file photo).

South African Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has sparked controversy over comments made about Kenyan athletes. Read more »