Hundreds of well-wishers have donated money to a waitress to cover the tip a black Oxford student refused to pay because she was white.

Ashleigh Schultz, 24, was reduced to tears when Ntokozo Qwabe–a leader of the campaign to remove a Cecil Rhodes statue at Oxford–and a friend wrote on their cafe bill: ‘We will give tip when you return the land.’

Ashleigh Schultz

Ashleigh Schultz

He bragged online that they had made her cry ‘typical white tears’, leaving him ‘unable to stop smiling because something so black and wonderful had happened’.

The incident last week at Obz Cafe in the Western Cape, South Africa, has ignited a backlash against Mr Qwabe, who was branded a racist bully.

Miss Schultz’s friends said she had already been feeling low as her mother has cancer.

One said: ‘She has a very sick mother she cares for, and had to move flat recently and is worried about all of this. She did burst into tears because she is having a tough time at present.’

Online campaigns sprang up to ‘tip the waitress’ and last night they had pledges topping £2,000.

Stacey-Leigh Wood, a friend of Miss Schultz, said: ‘This is so sweet of everyone that donated. That other idiot [Mr Qwabe] still needs to be slapped though.’

South African Mr Qwabe is a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, meaning he receives money from the Rhodes estate to study.

But he is also one of the leaders of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which wants the statue of the 19th-century imperialist removed from Oriel College.

One of the online campaigns was triggered by an outraged South African, Sihle Ngobese, who decided to pay the tip himself and said: ‘Qwabe is someone that claims to speak to the downtrodden and the disenfranchised yet he has the audacity to bully a working-class young woman.

‘I just wanted to make a small gesture to show South Africans that if we love and respect each other it makes our country great.’

In his incendiary Facebook post last Thursday, Mr Qwabe boasted he and his friend–a ‘radical non-binary trans black activist’–had refused to pay the ‘white woman’ a tip, instead leaving the note.

Mr Qwabe wrote: ‘She sees the note and starts shaking. She leaves us and bursts into typical white tears.’ He said a male waiter then approached the table to ‘annoy us more with his own white tears telling us that he finds our act racist’.

He added: ‘It is irrelevant whether you personally have land/wealth or you don’t. Go to your fellow white people and mobilise for them to give us the land back.’

Hundreds have condemned him online. Charmaine Rowlands wrote: ‘I cannot believe an educated person–educated with a “white racist” grant by the way–could stoop this low.

‘Please tell Ashleigh we, that is all South Africans who do not tolerate racism, stand with her and others who do an honest day’s work for next to nothing.’

Adrian Coetzee said: ‘It is a sad day that someone that is as privileged to receive a scholarship cannot appreciate how hard someone that isn’t as blessed has to work to achieve an education that he is taking for granted.’

Miss Schultz could not be reached for comment.

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