April 19, 2024

South African artist claims racism after shoved down stairs by Airbnb host

South African artist claims racism after shoved down stairs by Airbnb host

Steve Sibahle Nkumbi, South African artist and filmmaker, was literally thrown down a flight of steps along with her belongings by her outraged Airbnb host for being a few minutes late for checkout in Amsterdam.

“So basically my experience was bittersweet. It started well but it ended badly,” said Nkumbi, who traveled to Amsterdam to visit her friend and a fellow artist, Zanele Muholi, for her new photographic exhibition Faces and Phases at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum.

She wanted to write an article on the photography and support her friend’s work. She never thought that her trip would end up with her being assaulted.

The entire altercation occurred in the morning of their checkout. Nkumbi was running late for check out when the wife of the landlord rang the bell and Lerato Dumse, another friend of Nkumbi who was staying in the Amsterdam apartment, opened the door. Although she was upset, the wife expressed that they were minutes late and had to evacuate the premises immediately.

–Airbnb bans host who cited Trump as reason for refusing Asian guest–

Nkumbi responded with apologies for their tardiness and asked for a few minutes to pack up and leave.

Moments later, the husband came banging on the door furiously. “Leave now… you people. You’re not the great artists you think you are. You’re not the queen that you think you are. You need to leave now. This is not Africa,” he said.

Nkumbi describes his behavior as verbally abusive and racist, stating that for any person of color or someone who has witnessed racist attacks: “you know that, you know it when it happens to you.”

“I guarantee you that had this been a white person, it would have turned out differently,” she added.

After the struggle with the landlord and being thrown down the stairs, Nkumbi was rushed to the hospital because she passed out but later regained consciousness.

A report from the IOL said the police had arrested the owner. He was held overnight, but was released on Sunday. Spokesperson for the Amsterdam public prosecutor, Evert Boerstra, said the suspect had been charged with attempted manslaughter.

Airbnb’s Director of Diversity & Belonging, David King, condemned the incident, saying the landlord’s “appalling and unconscionable” behavior against a guest ran counter to everything the company stood for.

“Our chief executive Brian Chesky and I are reaching out to the affected guests,” he said. “We will take the strongest actions we can against such abhorrent conduct, including banning people for life from our platform and assisting law enforcement with their investigation and potential prosecution.”

To see the entire altercation and Nkumbi’s account of the incident in an interview, watch the videos below:


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