A South African filmmaker who was seen in a shocking video being pushed down the stairs by an enraged Airbnb landlord in Amsterdam on Sunday broke her silence, suggesting that the attack was unjustified and racially motivated.
Sibahle Nkumbi, who also goes by the name Steve, said in her first interview since the disturbing incident that she suffered a concussion and wants the man allegedly responsible for her injuries held to account, although she is skeptical it will ever happen.
Nkumbi acknowledged that she and her friends were late to check out but insisted that she did nothing to deserve being treated in such a brutal manner and argued that had she been white, things would have turned out differently.
It has since emerged that the man seen in the video hurling Nkumbi down the stairs could face an attempted murder charge.
The footage that first emerged on social media shows the Amsterdam homeowner shouting ‘out, out’ as he chucks the clothes and suitcases of the women out of the apartment and down the stairs.
He then howls ‘out now’ and can be seen pushing Ms Nkumbi head first down the steep staircase.
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She hits ground hard and seems to slam into the wall and the floor with her face, and then remains motionless.
The video then shows the landlord walking down the stairs and calling for someone to call an ambulance, ostensibly realizing to his own horror what he has just done.
Ms Nkumbi is studying in Bern, Switzerland, and was in Amsterdam to write an article about an art exhibit.
In an interview released on YouTube Sunday, a visibly bruised and shaken Nkumbi said that on the day of the incident, she and her companions were running late and their landlady came ringing their doorbell and demanding they pack up their belongings and get out.
‘She stated that this is not acceptable, you guys need to pack and leave now. And I was like, “Yes, give us a few minutes to pack” and I apologized profusely for us being late and we were getting ready to leave. And that’s when she came back a few minutes later with the husband and he was banging the door.
Ms Nkumbi said the man then became ‘verbally abusive’ and said ‘you people’ and ‘this in not Africa.’
‘Any person of color that reads this and has been a witness to, or has witnessed, racist attacks, you know it when it happens to you,’ she said. ‘I guarantee you, had this been a white person, it would have turned out differently.’
Seeing how ‘emotional’ the man was, the guest said she tried to leave, thinking he would move out of the way to let her through.
‘When I got close enough to him, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to grab me, and the way he grabbed me… I knew that he was gonna throw me down there,’ Nkumb recounted.
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Showing off her bruises under her arms from where the man allegedly grabbed her, the filmmaker, who also has a concussion, added: ‘The last thing I remember was when I realized he was going to throw me down there. Flying down the stairs, I don’t remember, I passed out and woke up in hospital.’
Photographer and artist Muholi Zanele is a friend of Ms Nkumbi and also claimed in an Instagram post the incident was racially motivated.
She said she never expected something like this to happen to her outside of South Africa, where she said ‘racism is visible’
She wrote: ‘One of my friends/Inkanyiso crew members was pushed downstairs by the Airbnb owner where we stayed. He threw their belongings out… for few mins late checkout.
‘She collapsed and ended up in hospital. She suffered internal injuries and bruises. Am so angry with this I couldn’t even sleep. This is racism and can’t be justified… violence on black bodies as you can see in this video.’
Prosecutors were considering a charge of attempted murder but were still studying the facts, an official from the prosecutors office told Reuters.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky would contact the guests involved, the company said in a statement.
‘Appalling and unconscionable behavior against members of our community runs counter to everything Airbnb stands for,’ David King, an Airbnb official, told MailOnline.
‘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. Nobody should ever be treated like this and it will not be tolerated.’
The tenant, Sibahle Nkumbi,
In Sunday’s interview, Nkumbi said she wants the landlord held legally responsible for what happened to her.
‘It’s my wish justice is served somehow,’ Nkumbi said. ‘[I] never experienced anything like this before in my life. You would expect it from South Africa where racism is visible. You come here, you get attacked like that… I didn’t expect it at all. I’m actually quite disappointed… when will we wake up? People are people.’
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