Two white students at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University have been suspended for appearing in what looks like blackface in a photo. Now, one of them claims the face paint was actually a dark purple hue.

Poekie Briedenhann says she and another student were dressed like space aliens and that the face paint they’re wearing was purple, the Associated Press reports.

Easy mistake: Black is pretty close to purple. Avoiding a racist mix-up by skipping dark paint altogether would’ve been another cool option.

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Here are unconfirmed photos of the pair that show them wearing foil antennas on their heads as part of their costumes.

This purported blackface follows a previous incident at the university in 2014, when two students wore blackface to dress like Serena and Venus Williams.

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The AP reports:

The episode at Stellenbosch University comes amid heightened debate on social media about racism in South Africa, which became a multi-racial democracy after the end of white minority rule in 1994.

University spokesman Martin Viljoen said Monday that the university is aware of “new evidence” — a reference to the account about alien costumes — and that an investigation is ongoing.

Following the students’ suspension, the university held workshops and released a statement that reads in part: “Stellenbosch University condemns all forms of racism and discrimination and acknowledges the severe negative impact of the pain and trauma experienced by students, staff and members of the public.”

UDDATE: Here’s a photo that wasn’t posted in the original version of this story—of one of the women wearing what appears to be lighter purple paint.


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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Image via Twitter