News Brief

South African Insurance Company Allegedly Refers to Black People as Baboons In Leaked Email

A screenshot of an email from an employee of the insurance company MiWay, referring to black people as baboons has caused havoc on Twitter.

A screenshot of an email from an employee of the insurance company MiWay, referring to black people as baboons has caused havoc on Twitter.


Aarthi Roopnarain, the employee who sent the email, is instructing the recipient to reject 90% claims made by black people. “They are an easy target, it’s also a great opportunity to save money and also punish these black baboons,” reads the last sentence of the email.

The company has since dismissed the email, saying it will prove that it’s fake. “It’s absolute nonsense, fake news on steroids,” the company’s CEO, Rene Otto said, “There has never been such a decision and it’s a hoax email. I have just seen the mail myself. We are busy following the threads so we will be able to prove that it’s false and falsified.”

The company has since released a statement on its Facebook page denying the allegations of racism: “MiWay is a proudly South African company committed to diversity and transparency. We have been made aware of a racist email purported to have been written and sent by a member of staff. An urgent investigation was launched and we can confirm that the email with its content was never sent from a MiWay employee.”

Until the company proves the email is wrong, it looks like it will carry on losing black clients, who are lobbying each other on Twitter to cancel their accounts. Below are some tweet responses from South Africans about the email.

 

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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