© Depositphotos.com/ Adam Hicks
According to a message that circulates via email and social media websites, South Africa's ANC government has proposed a bill that would ensure that attendance at South African evangelist Angus Buchan's "Mighty Men" Christian conferences are representative of South Africa's population. Supposedly, the proposed legislation would force ticket sellers to first sell 70% of conference tickets to native Africans before whites and settlers could buy any tickets. The message purportedly quotes ANC minister "Beauty Kumalo" as claiming that because of Apartheid, white South Africans have enjoyed better Christian resources than black South Africans and therefore have an "unfair advantage" with regard to reaching heaven. The message claims that the proposed bill will address such issues and advance racial integration in South Africa.
However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. The ANC has made no such proposal. The story began life as a satirical piece and its author never intended it to be taken seriously.
In November 2011, contributor Gerhard Nel published the story via MyNews24, the user-submitted section of South Africa's News24 website. This section allows readers to upload their own stories to the website. In this case, Gerhard Nel uploaded the above, clearly satirical, story in an effort to highlight what he considers the silliness of racial quotas. He never intended the piece to be taken seriously and he certainly did not expect that it would generate so much angst and debate or circulate for so long. The piece quickly escaped its original home and began circulating in other contexts.
In a follow-up article in which he explains his motivation and offers apologies to those who may have been offended by the article, Nel notes:
On 3 November 2011 News24 published an article that I wrote, titled “ANC Propose Quota System for Mighty Men Conferences.” The article was a satirical piece and clearly ridiculous and silly to its core. In the months that passed I have received mixed feedback on it. Some praised me, some insulted me and some have even threatened me. It is with concern that I have noticed that some people, mostly on the religious right, have taken this clearly bogus silly piece of writing and turned it into Gospel. Even my wife has received angry emails in the line of “How dare The ANC do this?”
The whole point I was trying to make in the article was to show just how silly racial quotas is. At no time was this article intended to advance racial tensions in any way whatsoever. In the article I applied the same logic that some people in our ANC led government want to apply to our sporting teams and in the work place, to religion. I truly believe like religion, sport should be enjoyed by all whom wish to participate in it and in the end you will be rewarded by your actions.
An earlier version of the piece appeared in a 2009 post on the Spear The Mighty blog.
"Mighty Men" organizer Angus Buchan also dismissed the message as a hoax, noting on his Facebook Page:
“NO TRUTH IN HOAX” (Minister Beauty Khumalo)
I NEED TO CONFIRM THAT THERE IS NO TRUTH IN A RECENT HOAX BEEN FOUND IN EMAILS AND OTHER MEDIA BLOGS. WE DO NOT APPROVE OF OR APPRECIATE THE DISREGARD THIS PERSON HAS FOR OUR BELOVED COUNTRY.
WE ARE SAD AT THE IRRESPONSIBLE AND PATHETIC JOKE MADE OF BLACK / WHITE RATIO AT MMC’S OR ANY OTHER EVENT – ON THE CONTRARY, WE BELIEVE WE ARE AT THE THRESHOLD OF A MIGHTY REVIVAL OF ALL PEOPLE, NO MATTER THEIR RACE, CULTURE OR GENDER.
GOD BLESS, ANGUS BUCHANThus, as has happened many times before, a fictional story intended only as satire has travelled far from its context and many recipients have thus mistaken it for a genuine news article.
Last updated: July 2, 2013