Rhodes Must Fall founder makes waitress cry ‘typical white tears’


Ntokozo Qwabe, a key member of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, has caused a stir online after posting a heated account of his refusal to give a white waitress a tip until she “return[s] the land.”

Qwabe, who is also a Rhodes Scholar, posted online celebrating  that “something so black, wonderful & LIT just happened,” and explained that when paying for a bill with an activist friend they wrote on the bill, “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND.”

The South African student at Oxford, described how upon reading the note, the waitress started shaking and cried “white tears.”


Qwabe who is doing a masters degree in African Studies at St John’s College, Oxford, wrote on Facebook:

“The note reads in bold: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”. The waitress comes to us with a card machine for the bill to be sorted out. She sees the note & starts shaking. She leaves us & bursts into typical white tears (like why are you crying when all we’ve done is make a kind request? lol!). Anyways, so this white woman goes to her colleagues who are furious. She exits to cry at the back & a white male colleague of hers reluctantly comes out to address us & to annoy us more with his own white tears telling us that he finds our act “racist”.

Qwabe in the grey and blue jacket at a Rhodes Must Fall Protest

Qwabe in the grey and blue jacket at a Rhodes Must Fall Protest


The comments below were mixed, with some supporting his act as “revolutionary”, and others more critical.

Qwabe replied to criticism on his post with “Why are white men here wanking on my wall? Wow. Sies! Go away!

“I hear the white media is going hysterical because a white woman decided to cry over a harmless political statement made in one line on a piece of paper?

“LOL! Because one moment of white tears always makes news despite the everyday unarticulated black pain the dispossessed & landless masses of this country have to live through. “WOW. Whiteness is so weak. Cute actually.

“Bye!!! ‪#‎IzweLethu‬

The phrase “Izwe Lethu” is a slogan of the decolonisation movement and is translated to mean “our land”, or “the land is ours.”

Speaking at a Rhodes Must Fall protest, Qwabe said: “I think it [the media’s criticism of his campaign while being a Rhodes scholar himself] was kind of a broader media project to individualise certain members of the movement and I just happened to be that person, simply because I’m Rhodes Scholar.

“The attacks actually validated the message of the movement so I didn’t see it as being something that detracts, actually I think it gave us a lot of traction.

“Dominant institutions like the media are very hard to penetrate. I think especially for ordinary people. So I’ve received quite a lot of letters from ordinary british people.

“I think people just pick up the media narrative and say ‘oh well this must be something ridiculous.'”


He added: “I think all of these come out of this kind of media attack on me personally, so people are like ‘oh this is totally normal’, it’s totally normal to like individualise and attack a person in the way that we have seen.

“This kind of hostility is the kind of hostility that black people face every day from this institution, from other institutions in power or society. We are kind of used to being screwed over in that kind of way, so it wasn’t alarming for me. It was just ‘people are being more racist’, I guess that generally happens.”