KALSAUNGS NELSONS WALLS AUBURN HILL, Ireland (Reuters) – A South African teenager who was the target of a racial attack last month in Nelsington, about 60 km (37 miles) north of Johannesburg, has said he had not seen the person who racially abused him and that he feared retribution from people of South Asian descent.
Nilsons swimming lessons, which are offered to all pupils aged 12-17 in a swimming pool near his home, were interrupted on March 4 when a group of teenagers began to shout racist slurs at him and a friend.
“I was walking with my friend, and the group of girls were chanting racist slogans, and it was like a stampede,” Nilsons mother, Gisela Gauthe, said on Friday.
“When they finished chanting, a few of them approached me and I was screaming and I said ‘no’ and one of them pushed me into the water.”
Then one of the girls threw a water bottle at me, which I thought was a racial insult.
“There was no-one around to stop it.
I was terrified.”
Nilson, who has autism, said he was “shocked” when he saw the girl who threw the bottle and her friends.
He said the incident “sounded like it could have been me”, but added that he did not have time to react to the attack.
“It was like an act of intimidation and the racial hatred of the girl,” he said.
Nelsons mother added that after the attack, her son told her he felt “taken advantage of”.
“I didn’t want him to feel any pain,” she said.
“At first I was thinking ‘I am going to cry and I am going mad’ but it was too late.”
His face had been bruised.
“She said she had “never been afraid to speak out against racism”.
Nilsson, who is the youngest in his family, said she was told that if her son was ever attacked again, the group would be expelled from the swimming pool.NELSONS CHILDREN ARE AFFECTED AND SITUATEDKALSA UNITS, South Africa, March 5, 2019.
REUTERS/James BuiSouth Africa’s police commissioner has said racial abuse of minority students at swimming lessons was a “national epidemic” and a threat to the country’s development.
In a speech on Thursday, Police Commissioner Zweli Mkhize said he believed it was imperative that South Africans were able to access swimming lessons as early as possible to “protect their children and ensure they do not become targets of hate crimes”.
The police chief said he hoped to encourage schools to open more swimming lessons.”
That’s the best way to help the children,” he told reporters.”
But in the end, the police cannot always control what is happening in schools and how they are managed.
“Our duty is to ensure that our children are not harmed in this way.
This is a national epidemic and we are doing our best to tackle it.”
Nelsson said he did believe his attackers were targeting a group that had recently left the swimming pools.
“If they had been targeting a young white male, I’m not sure that would have happened,” he added.NILSONS PROTESTES FOR CHILD SAFETYPolice say around 3,000 South Africans have joined a protest outside Nelsson’s home in Kalisa, near Johannesburg.
The police commissioner’s remarks come as South Africa is struggling to contain growing racial violence, with hundreds of police officers killed in attacks across the country since January.
South African President Jacob Zuma has been accused of failing to take any action against the perpetrators of the attack on Nelsones swimming lessons and has also failed to appoint a special police force to protect children in South Africa.
“The police can’t stop all the crimes.
We can only protect our children,” Zuma told reporters on Friday, referring to the number of officers killed.”
We must take the necessary measures to protect the children.
We must be able to protect our students, but that will not be enough.
There is nothing more we can do.”
South Africa, which has been hit by a wave of violent crime, has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in recent months.
The government has also faced criticism over its failure to prosecute hate crimes against people of Jewish faith.
Zuma has repeatedly denied that he was involved in the attack and said the police were not to blame.
“This is a racist incident.
We cannot allow hatred and discrimination to fester,” he was quoted as saying on Thursday by the state-run newspaper SABC.”
In our view, this attack was an act that was not motivated by racial hatred and it is only a matter of time before it happens again.”