Zanzibar. South African national and former Big Brother Africa contestant Samantha Jensen has accused a Zanzibar Hotel of racism after she was barred from accessing the hotel.
In a video which she has posted on her instagram page, Samantha says she was with her sister when they decided to go and check out some loud music playing at Vera Club Sunset Beach in Nungwi only to be told access was only for Italians.
“We went to check out the hotel as we heard music and thought it’s another one of the beach parties held at the hotels in Zanzibar,” she says.
“When we walked in at the gate the security guard came to us quickly to stop us, saying we not allowed in. I asked is it a private party thinking maybe that’s why, he responds no you are not allowed,” writes Samantha who was in the BBA House in 2014 .
The two women, according to Samantha, further questioned the guard only to be told that only Italians are allowed.
“Then when I finally realised that this man is actually saying what I thought,’ no blacks allowed’, I took out my phone to record him and asked the same questions again. And this was his response,” she wrote.
The hotel authorities have, however, distanced themselves from the claims thanking the South African national for letting them know what happened.
“I would like to reiterate to all the people who rightly felt offended by these words, that it is absolutely not the policy of the Vera Club Nungwi Company to discriminate,” reads a post by the company.
The authorities say it was a mere misunderstanding between the guard and the visitors due to a communication barrier.
“After having interviewed the security officer once again we came to the conclusion that there was a misunderstanding between what you said and what he understood. He assures us that he wanted to inform you that only Italian customers were present in the club,” authorities at the hotel said.
The management at Vera Club further added: “The response you received from the security officer is totally inappropriate and not in line with the management's provisions which on the contrary encourage the presence of customers within the club.”
The management, in a show of good faith has since invited Samantha to spend a few days as the guest of the club.
“I hope you can accept my invitation to spend a few days as a guest of Vera Club to realise that we are absolutely not opposed to the presence of any ethnic group in the club and absolutely different from how it could seem because of what happened.”
The Club also says they have hired a communication expert to teach their security personnel how to respond to and facilitate requests from external visitors to avoid such episodes.
But Samantha’s outburst sparked a backlash from some quarters with another former BBA 1 contestant Abby Platjes saying she too believed it was a language barrier.
“The problem with this post is that you had a major language barrier with the gentleman you are talking about. …………..I’m sure there are elements of prejudices and discrimination in these types of hotels without doubt but let’s first be clear on the practices of these establishments before we unintentionally destroy the image of the Zanzibar Island on a whole,” she writes in her reply.