‘Unidentified leader’: AP reporter accused of racism for description of SA’s president Ramaphosa

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‘Unidentified leader’: AP reporter accused of racism for description of SA’s president Ramaphosa

The AP’s six-year veteran White House reporter Darlene Superville has triggered a backlash in Africa and drawn the ire of many on Twitter after referring to South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa as an “unidentified leader.”

The host of this year’s G7 Summit, French President Emmanuel Macron, invited the heads of five African states to discuss issues affecting their countries, including: Senegal’s Macky Sall, Burkina Faso’s Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and, of course, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.

While tweeting a photo of a group hug involving several G7 leaders and Ramaphosa, Superville neglected to do a quick internet search to prevent widespread outrage as well both personal and professional embarrassment.

A Rwandan state minister for foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, blasted the tweet as “despicable,” noting that it’s particularly egregious because Superville works for a major news agency. “It’s a mixture of unprofessionalism and disrespect towards African leaders. Dear @dsupervilleap, please delete your tweet and apologize!” he wrote.

The wrath of the twitterati was swift, with many highlighting Superville’s own race as adding further insult to injury.

“I did know that a person can be racist to one’s own race lol the world is coming to an end…”

“Compounding the blooper, she’s a black woman who recognizes white men from their backs, not black men’s faces…”

“You chose to strip this Black leader of his dignity and reduce him to a no name. Shameful,” were just a small sample of the rage-filled responses to Superville’s perceived ignorance, though that wasn’t the only snub South Africans endured.

Creating yet another cacophony of clapbacks, Superville then tweeted the same pictures again some 18 hours after the tweetstorm began, without apology, leaving countless irate South Africans fuming.

“Now if a white person wrote ‘and one unidentified leader,’ you’d likely shriek in protest. It’s deeply offensive to all South Africans that you don’t know who our president is. Given your job function, inexcusable. You owe an apology for your sloppiness,”wrote one irate user, summing up the entire debacle.

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