Author's racist remarks trigger furore

2010-11-30 17:05

Johannesburg - A leading white author has triggered a fresh debate about race relations after saying in an interview that she does not like black people, a newspaper reported.

Annelie Botes
, 53, author of several novels, made the remarks last week in an interview with Rapport newspaper.

"I don't like black people," she told the paper, when asked what sort of people she disliked.

"I don’t understand them! ... I know they are people just like me. I know they have the same rights as me. But I do not understand them. And then I do not like them. I avoid them because I am scared of them."

Botes blamed black people for South Africa's violent crime problem, which had claimed the life of her neighbour, and said the violence showed blacks were "angry because of their own incompetence".

The writer has been pilloried for her remarks, with many people accusing her of being prejudiced and stuck in the past.

But a large number of people have also praised her honesty and defended her right "to like who she likes".

Botes told the Mail & Guardian newspaper she had received about 1 000 e-mails backing her remarks and that she still stood by her comments.

"Naturally, there are a lot of black people that I like very much. But I certainly meant what I said," she said.