Richard Branson apologises to SA for racially exclusionary tweet
British billionaire and Virgin founder Richard Branson apologised on Tuesday for posting a picture on Twitter he admitted “clearly lacked diversity” as he launched his new entrepreneurship development centre in SA.
On Monday he tweeted a picture of himself and eight others captioned, “We aim to become the heart of entrepreneurship in Southern Africa”.
It featured no blacks in a country where they make up 80% of the population.
That sparked outrage as racial tensions remain high and the majority black population is still economically marginalised 25 years after the demise of apartheid.
“Where did you find so many white people in South Africa?” a tweet from @thulashinda said.
“I wish there were more BLACK entrepreneurs in this picture,” @NomsBomba said.
Following the flurry of angry and sarcastic tweets targeting the mogul, who runs a chain of gyms in the country and whose airline daily flies the London-Johannesburg route, Branson apologised.
“The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is for all South Africans, but yesterday (Monday)’s choice of a photo to go with my tweet clearly lacked diversity. Apologies,” he said.
The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is for all South Africans, but yesterday's choice of a photo to go with my tweet clearly lacked diversity. Apologies. I hope you will take a look at my blog which does far better justice to the amazing work of the Centre and its team.— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) November 12, 2019
The centre serves as a business development hub aimed at supporting entrepreneurs.