'Things said in the 1800s are not appropriate to say today'

Lawyers for convicted racist Vicki Momberg have until Friday to submit supplementary papers explaining why she should be granted leave to appeal.

The court was not completely convinced on Wednesday by the arguments advanced by her lawyers as to why she should be allowed leave to appeal against are conviction and sentence.

John Maytham speaks to Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand Roger Southall about the differing views on whether racists should be jailed for speaking language which the majority of South Africans find offensive, in public. Some argue it gives those convicted, matyr status and drives racists underground - which could be more dangerous.

Southall says people need to recognise that the use of certain terms has changed in the way they are used over time.

Some things which were said in the 1800s are not appropriate to say in the 20th century.

Roger Southall, Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand

The way in which the black population today was referred to in the past by whites, as well as the way black people refer to themselves, has changed, he says.

The law is there to maintain people's dignity, he adds.

He added that with Vicki Momberg it was the number of times she used the word, that is why her sentence was so severe.

Listen further to this insightful interview:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Things said in the 1800s are not appropriate to say today'


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