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Tutu on racism: hurtful but not surprising

03 February, 08:44 AM

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says racism in South Africa is hurtful but "not entirely surprising" considering the country's segregated past and present living conditions for the majority. Asked about recent incidents of very public racism and debate Tutu said it was optimistic to think prejudice would be eradicated overnight. 

"We shouldn't be unrealistic when people have had such a long history of living in a racist dispensation," he said during an event in Cape Town on Tuesday, 2 February. "We are being quite over-optimistic to think you can wipe the slate clean and there won't be those occasions when people fall back and tend then to behave as before."

Despite heated debates on racism such as comments by Penny Sparrow likening black beach-goers to monkeys, the proponent of Ubuntu has hope for South Africa. 

"Whilst [racism] is hurtful, it is not entirely surprising and especially when you see there aren't too many obvious changes that have happened. It's just that the people who occupy the offices and the Union Buildings, they have changed."

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