Poet and singer Ntsiki Mazwai is known for her controversial views that often go against prevailing narratives or sentiments.
On Monday, she was at it again as the world, including South Africans, mourned the passing of US legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant.
In a tweet, she appeared to suggest that South Africans on Twitter are taking their reaction to the tragedy a little too far.
Tweet sparks debate
Mzawai wrote, “Did American Twitter come to a standstill when Winnie Mandela died? Does American Twitter come to a standstill when a South African sportsman has died??? Umbuzo nje [just a question].”
The tweet sparked intense debate among local fans of Bryant, sending Mazwai to the top of the trending lists.
Some, such as Twitter user George Balekane, supported the poet. He replied, “Ntsiki is making a good point. It even goes beyond that.
“We trade in US dollars, our military tactics are based on US standards, we imitate their music and culture. We must learn to conserve our own and protect our own until they give us same energy.”
Kobe Bryant’s visit to South Africa
However, others disagreed vehemently. Among them was Lebona Sanza, who replied, “I don’t think humanity and empathy should be a competition… or we should abandon ours just because we feel we wouldn’t get it from others… African love for one another has no boundaries.”
Popular sports broadcaster Robert Marawa also pointed out that Bryant visited South Africa in 2010. It was his first-ever visit to Africa.
During the visit, Bryant interacted with young soccer players at the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto, Johannesburg.
He said at the time, “This is amazing to me because I never would have thought in a million years that playing the game of basketball would bring me to Soweto to talk to soccer kids about life, about having a dream.”
Bryant passed away on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles, California, aged 41. His daughter Gianna was also among the nine people aboard the helicopter who perished.
He was one of the greatest basketball players to have played in the NBA and was third on the all-time NBA scorers list until Saturday when LeBron James surpassed him.
His last tweet congratulated James for his milestone. He wrote, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644.”