GroenLinks council official quits over Mandela Zwarte Piet comment

An official for the GroenLinks left-wing green party in the Amsterdam borough of West has resigned after sending out a tweet in which he compared Nelson Mandela to Sinterklaas’s helper Zwarte Piet.


John de Laet wrote last week: ‘Does anyone care if the draw for the 2014 World Cup is fair tomorrow, following the death of the chief Piet.’ He said the comment was meant to be sarcastic.

The local party said the comment was inappropriate and although the concept was being widely used in twitter traffic, the comment could be taken as denigrating.


De Laet said his comment was stupid and that he is resigning because he did not want there to be any doubt about his party’s position on discrimination. De Laet only became a party official on December 1.

Last week the Telegraaf newspaper apologised for a website article with a ‘distasteful link’ between the death of Nelson Mandela and the Sinterklaas celebrations.

The article, a compilation of reactions to Mandela’s death, began with the text: ‘There have been reactions abroad and in the Netherlands to the death of Nelson Mandela, who died, of all times, on Sinterklaas evening (with Zwarte Piet).

Zwarte Piet is played by a white person in black face make-up and is heavily criticised in some quarters for having racist connotations.

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