South African businessman apologises for racist rant

Johannesburg, South Africa (PANA) – A South African man who sparked a national outcry over a racist video clip he posted while on holiday in Europe, on Friday issued a formal apology.

Johannesburg businessman Adam Catzavelos said he realised the video was "thoughtless and insensitive".

“It’s hard to put into words what I want to say and genuinely apologise. I don't expect people to forgive me, but I will spend the rest of my life repenting and trying to make up for my total lack of respect and judgement," he said.

Catzavelos took a “selfie” clip of himself on a beach in Greece where he expressed delight that there were no black people around.  

“I’m going to give you a weather forecast. Blue skies, beautiful day, amazing sea and not one kaffir in sight. You cannot beat this,” he says in the brief clip.

The word “kaffir” is the most hated racial slur in South Africa and the courts have handed down heavy sentences when perpetrators have been convicted. The law defines crimen injuria as “a wilful injury to someone’s dignity, caused by the use of obscene or racially offensive language or gesture”.

The video went viral and there was a massive backlash. The South African Human Rights Commission received several complaints and the Economic Freedom Fighters laid criminal charges against him.

Catzavelos’ family announced that he had been fired from the family business, St George's Fine Foods, and the upmarket Johannesburg school where his children study announced that he was prohibited from entering the property.

The Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese (HIP) Alliance said the incident highlights “the need for all of us to redouble our efforts at building a non-racist, non-sexist, democratic South Africa that we can all be proud of”.

The scandal even affected Nike South Africa after it emerged that Catzavelos' wife works for the company.

The sports brand closed several of its Johannesburg stores amid concern that they could be targeted by demonstrators.

"Nike opposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect. We believe in the power of human potential in everyone - of every race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. We can also confirm that Adam Catzavelos is not a Nike employee," the company said in a statement.
-0- PANA CU/MA 24Aug2018

24 Agosto 2018 09:24:58

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