Associated Press reporter Darlene Superville has drawn criticism online following a tweet featuring a photo of the heads of France, India, Canada and South Africa at the G7 meeting. However, it was not the photo itself that infuriated netizens, but the fact that the reporter had failed to recognise South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, referring to him simply as “unidentified leader”, while naming everyone else.
Twitterians suggested that Superville was not good at her job because, in their opinion, she should have recognised the head of states visiting the important annual event, or could at least have googled Ramaphosa.
Unidentified leader?! At the G7? Damn she really should be fired for this lazy reporting. It would take one google search to put a name to face and she couldn’t do that.— Sibusiso Kgare (@SbusisoKgare) August 26, 2019
His name is @CyrilRamaphosa .. It's not hard to Google Darlene...— Eloquent Delinquent 🖤 (@EloquentTash) August 26, 2019
One netizen noted that if Superville had not been a person of colour, the public and media would already have been infuriated by such a tweet.
Now if a white person wrote 'and one unidentified leader', you'd likely shriek in protest. It's deeply offensive to all South Africans that you don't know who our president is. Given your job function, inexcusable. You owe an apology for your sloppiness.— Clive Simpkins 🕉️ ✡️ ✝️ ☪️ ☸️ (@clivesimpkins) August 26, 2019
Many South Africans were infuriated by the fact that their president was the only one "unidentified" in the photo, despite his face being clearly visible.
Darlene, darling, that's our whole honourable president, Cyril Ramaphosa. We love him, you have p*ssed of an entire country.— Gillian Faichnie (@GillianF) August 26, 2019
I’m so disappointed a black lady couldn’t find this face out of a group of 7 countries made of 3 black run countries 🙄— Thembi Tabata (@bauss_thembi) August 26, 2019
That “unidentified Leader” is our greatest and smart President @CyrilRamaphosa and trust us when we say, the best leader among those three. Just learn a thing or two about Africa and stop being @realDonaldTrump sucker.— #KyDropsVulaOnFriday (@SibusisoMtungwa) August 26, 2019
However, some netizens critical of Ramaphosa claimed that the AP journalist not recognising him only proves his alleged lack of fitness for the position he is holding.
The unidentified leader has used more than $65 million to buy voters, judges and key law enforcement agencies like NPA, since he took over unemployment has rocketed to the record high, Eskom has recorded over $1.5 million loss, the highest ever in South African companies— Afrikan™ (@IsaacNathi) August 26, 2019
Ramaphosa has been facing criticism, both domestically and abroad, in recent years over some of his policies. The most controversial is the intention to redistribute farmland belonging to local white farmers among the black population without giving compensation to the former. Critics point out that a similar policy led to the collapse of the agricultural sector in another African state, Zimbabwe.