Crossed the line? These South Africans wore blackface [photos]

DA MP Ian Cameron has courted controversy after a video of him appearing in blackface resurfaced on social media on Friday, 21 June.

The video emanates from the activist’s involvement in an AfriForum Youth protest back in 2012.


On Friday, 21 June, old clips and images of Ian Cameron in blackface made their way onto the X app.

The imagery was sourced from an AfriForum Youth protest outside the office of Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

The protest was organised after the University of Pretoria was accused of “racial targeting.” This, after they allegedly refused white students entry in favour of black students, particularly in the veterinary science programme.

Footage of the AfriForum Youth and parents painting their faces black at protests was aired on several broadcasters. Included was Ian Cameron, the now DA MP.

On social media, Cameron’s blackface irked many South Africans, given his role in the political party.

Speaking to IOL, Cameron said of the video: “I oppose race quotas, and as a member of AfriForum Youth in 2011, participated in a protest to this effect.

“However, I acknowledge that blackface is not acceptable in modern society, and for that, I apologise – it detracts from the point we at Afriforum Youth were trying to make about exclusion on the basis of race quotas.”

DA Director of Communications Richard Newton said in a statement to The South African: “The party notes the emergence of a video of DA MP Ian Cameron taking part in a protest 12 years ago as an activist for AfriForum. 

“Mr Cameron has clarified his participation in this protest against unfair admissions policies at an institution of higher learning.”


Ian Cameron wasn’t the first South African to wear the controversial practice of blackface.

Die Antwoord

In 2012, the controversial rap-rave band Die Antwoord appeared in blackface for their music video Fatty Boom Boom.

The visuals upset many fans; however, duo Yolandi Visser and Ninja insisted they did “nothing wrong.”

Leon Schuster

Known for his “candid camera” pranks, Leon Schuster has often used blackface to dress up as different characters and races in his popular movies.

After Showmax removed five of his films in 2020, he told the Sunday Times: “On Twitter [now X], they said stay away from the blackface. It’s not on. It was black people talking to me, and you’ve got to listen. I can’t do it because I’ll be heavily criticised. 

“In the olden days, it troubled nobody. But I won’t go blackface now. I can’t do it. There’s not one actor in the world that will. It’s just racist.”

Enhle Mbali 

In 2016, actress Enhle Mbali made headlines after she was accused of posting an image of herself in blackface during the “Black Lives Matter” protests in the US.

Responding to the backlash, she told her followers to “stop being offended with trivial things and deal with real issues.”

Pearl Thusi

In 2018, Pearl Thusi posted a professional photoshoot image on her Instagram account in which she appeared in blackface.

The actress was put on blast by fellow entertainer Bonnie Mbuli, who labelled the pics “distasteful.”

Students Mark Burman and Ross Bartlett

In 2014, the University of Stellenbosch students Mark Burman and Ross Bartlett apologised to South Africans after an image of them in blackface at a costume party.

The friends claimed that they had dressed up as tennis-playing sisters Venus and Serena Williams.

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