Tshirts with 'I benefited from apartheid' slogan spark 'race row' in South Africa

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 17, 2012 09:55 hrs

Washington: A set of T-shirts by a South African resident named Roger Young that have the slogan 'I benefited from apartheid' printed on them has sparked a fresh race row in the country.

While some praised the gesture as honest and courageous in a country that, despite its official aspiration to non-racialism, is still steeped in the legacy of apartheid 18 years on, others, however, unleashed a tirade of inflammatory criticism and personal abuse that suggested attitudes no less stagnant.

"I tell you who benefited from apartheid, it was blacks. I wish blacks would give whites apartheid. And I will tell you why I say this. Whites came to a country where there was nothing, just some black tribes living in mud huts killing each other," The Guardian quoted Facebook user Margarita Barnard, as writing.

"No roads no infrastructure no South Africa even. Blacks were always dying from famines when there were droughts, from tsetse fly [sleeping sickness], from yellow fever, malaria, name it they died in droves," he added.

Another objector, Francois DeWet, posted: "Get me a dictionary or something that shows me how black Africans could be taught in their own languages subjects like maths, science and biology. Simple, you cannot teach in a language that does not have the terminology to do so,"

"We didn't place restrictions on the development of their languages and simply had to find another way to give them a start in live. So, alternative mediums were introduced to accommodate the lack of terminology, and they went apeshit!!" he added.

Young, 40, has also been dismayed by the backlash that has included hate mail, mostly from South African migrants in Britain or Australia, the paper said.

"It's been quite rough. There was a guy in the UK saying 'You don't know what you're talking about and all the people are going to die.' I got conspiracies on Facebook saying the government is collaborating with China to carry out a white genocide," he said. 

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