A tourist from South Africa was injured in Amsterdam on Saturday after getting into an argument with her Airbnb host, at an apartment that belongs to a member of the far-left Groenlinks party. A video of the incident shows the black female being pushed down a flight of stairs after an argument, the newspaper AD reported.
The tourists had rented the home on Potgieterstraat through Airbnb. According to the newspaper, the four women had to be out of the home by 11:00 am, but were still there at 12:30 pm.
The black South African lesbian is a friend of South African photographer Zanele Muholi, whose work is currently exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Muholi posted the video of the assault on Instagram. “Am so angry with this I couldn’t even sleep. This is racism and can’t be justified”, she wrote. “Violence on black bodies as you can see in this video.”
The person who pushed the tourist down the stairs was arrested, a police spokesperson confirmed to the Telegraaf, while the victim was taken to hospital for treatment. She has pressed charges against the perpetrator.
Strangely, the Groenlinks activists regularly defend squatters – called krakers in Dutch – who occupy homes illegally in the city. The black tourist said that the assailant told her that “this is not Africa” before pushing her down the stairs.
The Amsterdam’s Airbnb property is currently owned by the prominent GroenLinks activist Anita de Horde. Because the owner of the apartment is from Groenlinks, her supporters argue that racism could not have been a possible motive.
“It was most likely the result of frustration. I have heard that the tenants did not hurry to leave while the check-out time had elapsed for more than an hour,” one resident told Dutch media. “The caretaker also knows that the last week’s Airbnb guests made a lot of noise,” the Dutch daily De Telegraaf reported.
De Horde is affiliated with Bureau de Helling, the scientific office of GroenLinks. It has now been revelead that De Horde’s party is virulently against Airbnb rentals in the area. Previously, the party found that the municipality had to put an end to “profiteering holiday rentals via Airbnb”. They also want to end the deal that the municipality entered into with Airbnb.
While De Horde pretends to live in the apartment, it is clearly only a rental for “profeteering” one tweeter noted.
De Horde pretends to occupy the house, with blank name plates next to the doorbell, along with 47-year-old Gijs Davelaar. He was responsible for pushing the South African guest down the stairs.
He was arrested by the police but according to the Public Prosecution Service, he was released because he is a permanent resident with full-time employment and has no criminal record. But when De Telegraaf called the company for which he said he was working, they were told he was on vacation. Despite several requests, neither De Horde nor her partner Gijs Davelaar responded to phone calls, text messages or emails.
Anita and Gijs’s profiles have been erased by Airbnb. The rental site has announced a ban on Gijs for a “lifetime” from its platform. “We will take the hardest measures that we can take against such reprehensible behavior, including the lifelong bans of people from our platform and helping police and justice with their investigation and possible criminal prosecution,” said David King, representing the company.
The black tourist was identified as South African filmmaker Sibalhe Nkumbi, who is studying in Europe. She was in Amsterdam to review a friend’s art exhibition.
According to her, the Airbnb host lost his temper and threw her down the stairs. He had been summoned by his wife, The Independent reported. In the video, he can be heard shouting, “Out, out”, before pushing her down the stairs. “I remembered asking, ‘Why are you being so emotional, we are leaving,” Nkumbi said.
“We knew we were late,” she explained in a video posted to YouTube. “We heard the bell ring. The lady was clearly upset… she said this is not acceptable, you need to pack and leave now. I apologised profusely for us being late.”
Nkumbi says she and her friends were leaving when the woman returned with her husband, who became abusive. He called them “you people” and said “you are not the queen you think you are… this is not Africa”.
“Any person of colour that reads this and has witnessed racist attacks you know when it happens to you,” Nkumbi told the British daily. “And the perpetrator always makes sure they say something vague… so they can’t prove anything. If this had been a white person, I can guarantee you this would have turned out differently.”
According to her, he had clearly wanted to throw her down the stairs. “As I was gripping against the wall he’s trying to get me to his position and eventually I lost my grip and that’s when I flew down.” He had tried to do the same thing to her colleague, but she held onto the rail and told him not to touch her. “I don’t remember how it happened,” she says. “I woke up in hospital, in pain. And then I got the video of the story. Everyone was freaking out, the police came to question me.”
Nkumbi says she sustained a concussion, has a large bump on the back of her head and is bruised across her face and body. On the video, she shows large bruises all over her arms that she says were caused by Davelaar’s grip.
“I come from South Africa where you’d expect that because racism is visible,” she added. “But to come here and get attacked like that, I didn’t expect that at all. I am actually quite disappointed.”