Minki van der Westhuizen. (Gallo images)
Cape Town – South African model and TV personality Minki van der Westhuizen, has received widespread backlash after an Instagram post went viral that many have labelled as “tone-deaf” and “out of touch”.
Minki shared an Instagram post on Wednesday, in which she explained in Afrikaans that she wanted to “treat” her gardener, Albert, with an Uber ride home on his birthday.
She then explained that later that afternoon he approached her, asking for the cash equivalent of the Uber ride instead, as he had seen the cost, and would have liked to use the money toward something else.
The mother-of-three further shared that the experience made her realise how “we” have to take care to manage our “hard-earned money” well and that we have a lot to be thankful for.
Together with the lengthy caption, Minki also shared a photo of herself with Albert – who she calls a “garden engineer.”
Minki used the personal experience to promote a paid-for post on Instagram, as part of a professional agreement with Finbond Platinum.
The post has since gone viral across social media platforms, with many saying that the caption was “tone-deaf” regarding the topic of race and white privilege.
“This is a combination of ignorance and utter stupidity. This riles me,” wrote Ronel Singarum on Twitter.
Another user, Dave, wrote: “She’s incredibly condescending. Also, she could have given him something he could actually use to feed his family without her broadcasting it.”
Vanya du Toit tweeted: “The ‘we are so blessed with all we have, humbling to see with how little others (they) get by’ is the actual worst. You’re not blessed, the chosen ones, better, elevated; you’re the product decades of systemic social and economic oppression.”
The Instagram post has since been removed.
Speaking to Channel24, Minki apologised for her actions, saying: “Although my intentions come from a good place, I was wrong and ignorant. I only want to play a positive role in society, and I will certainly rethink my actions in future.”
Some social media users questioned whether Albert also benefited from her agreement with Finbond. Minki in the Instagram comments said that Albert also benefits from the arrangement.
When asked to elaborate further on the matter, Minki told Channel24: “My agreements with clients are confidential, so I won’t be divulging any information about that.”
Channel24 has also reached out to Finbond who is yet to respond. This article will be updated once a response is received.
According to the Advertising Regulatory Board, influencers are expected to disclose their relationship with clients, whether it is money or goods that have been exchanged.
This comes after the “Volvo-Amanda du Preez” ruling.