The on-air clash that occurred on a live broadcast of SuperSport rugby on Saturday evening has social media users highlighting South Africa’s ongoing racial tensions.

Former Springbok player and SuperSport rugby analyst Ashwin Williams’ unexpected walk-off during a live television broadcast was allegedly the culmination of long-term working frustrations having to do with co-hosts fellow presenters Mallett and another former Springbok, Naas Botha. Willemse stated that he “can’t work with people who undermine other people” and that he was “glad it happened on live TV so that people can see”.

Minister of Sports and Recreation Thokozile Xasa issued a statement saying:

“This behaviour of entitlement by some white South Africans who continue to think that their whiteness represents better must come to an end…“If it was not for a barbaric nonsensical apartheid system that privileged them we could not have implemented quota system to normalize an otherwise abnormal system..”

“Willemse is not just a former Springbok player but in 2003 he was named SA Rugby Player of the Year‚ Young Player of the Year and the Player’s Player of the Year.”,  stated Xasa.

The statement from the Minister may have caused Supersport to take action having not yet commented on the events that took place.

“A preliminary investigation is underway and will include senior management meeting with all the presenters (Ashwin Willemse‚ Nick Mallett‚ Naas Botha and Motshidisi Mohono) and the production staff in Johannesburg today…prejudice of any sort will not be tolerated by SuperSport.”

“SuperSport acknowledges the comments from the Ministry of Sport and Recreation and will engage with Minister of Sport and Recreation Thokozile Xasa’s office in this regard.”

Members of the public took to Twitter to react in the last 48 hours, the #AshwinWillemse hashtag being a top trending topic nationwide. Though there have been differing opinions, it is clear that most people(who tweeted) were of the opinion that Ashwin Willemse did what many would have wanted to do under the circumstances and that the incident points to the strained relationship between him(Willemse) and his co-hosts, furthermore, putting South Africa’s dishonourable treatment of people of colour in the international spotlight.

Here is what people on Twitter had to say:

Went for coffee last week with #AshwinWillemse. He’s not an emotional attention seeker who played the race card. He is professional, smart and one of the most intelligent & kind guys you’ll meet. And when you are THAT, you dont entertain people who belittle you. pic.twitter.com/rtVdzA2mqe

— Marnus Broodryk (@marnusbroodryk) May 20, 2018

And that clear message is that he was out of his depth and unprofessional.

The unfortunate thing is @SuperSportTV is going to try and appease everyone so we may not have a true verdict on who was in the wrong. Or they’ll take the populist view and blame the whities…

— I am an African (@Clint_ZA) May 21, 2018

#AshwinWillemse is who young black people who work in corporate SA want to be everyday but can’t be because bills.

— Tessa Dooms (@tessie18) May 20, 2018

The #AshwinWillemse story is triggering. The courage it takes to stand up and speak out…

— Sihle Bolani (@MsSihleBolani) May 20, 2018

This is both fantastic and tragic because Mallet and Naas needed to be called out, but @Ashwinwillemse is precisely the kind of person we need in that studio – a black rugby man who can speak his mind because he isn’t dependent on a Supersport salary. #ASHWINWILLEMSEpic.twitter.com/YhWFIlRZNW

— RSA Minister Of Sport 2034 (@Chulu_Mac) May 19, 2018

In the seconds preceding your walk- off a look crossed your face that reminded me of my late brother when the pain of condescension became unbearable. Thank you for creating this moment for us to take an honest look at ourselves. #AshwinWillemse

— Iman Rappetti (@imanrappetti) May 20, 2018

when #AshwinWillemse ‘s name come up RESPECK it! Thats how you stand up for yourself! … it’s clear from the footage offensive remarks were made and instead of nodding his head and smiling Ashwin stood up for whats right. Give that guy his own show. Love him!

— Aisha Baker (@bakedonline) May 19, 2018

We’ve all had an #AshwinWillemse moment but maybe not all had the swag to drop the mic and walk off the set like *that*
It will make quite an anthology. I’d love to hear your story.

— Ferial Haffajee (@ferialhaffajee) May 20, 2018

We’ve all felt like Ashwin at some point. Be it at work, at an educational institution or on a committee of some sort. I’m glad he walked out. It must’ve been liberating. #AshwinWillemse

— Nobleman (@WayneHarper_) May 19, 2018

What I will say about #AshwinWillemse is… If you throw your toys out of the cot in public, and in an unprofessional manner as he did anywhere else in the world, you get sacked on the spot – no questions. @helenzille

— wadesgotit (@wadesgotit) May 21, 2018

My nephew is the only black boy in his grade and @ every rugby tournament he gets tossed between the A and the B team because they need to show “diversity” for the A team but every time they come home he is taken back to the B team. Willemse was right to do that. #AshwinWillemse

— Chimwemwe (@ChimzOwambo) May 19, 2018

#AshwinWillemse as a professional whether on the field or off or even in the studio you ALWAYS keep your cool. What Aswin did was totally unprofessional and deserves to be fired. You were out of line and you deserve the red card.

— Gary Evans (@garye100) May 20, 2018

We don’t need a commission of enquiry to understand what happened at SuperSport. There’s a reason we believe #AshwinWillemse. We’ve been there.

— Janine J (@janine_j) May 21, 2018

As SuperSport investigates, we wait to hear how the channel will handle the matter going forward.

The post Social Media Reactions to former Springboks Ashwin Willemse and Nick Mallett On-Air Clash appeared first on Elle South Africa.