SA man who said he was persecuted for being white is of mixed race
BILL CORCORAN in Cape Town
The Irish Times
September 10, 2009
A STUDY of the family history of a South African man granted refugee status in Canada on the grounds that he faced persecution at home for being white has shown he is of mixed race, a newspaper reported yesterday.
According to the Pretoria News, research carried out by Cape Town-based social historian Patric Tariq Mellet into the ancestry of Brandon Huntley has revealed he is part coloured, a local term for South Africans of mixed origins.
Mr Huntley (31) hit the headlines around the world last week when an independent immigration board in Canada granted him refugee status because of his alleged persecution by black criminals in South Africa for being white.
He said that between 1991 and 2003 he had been attacked seven times and stabbed three times by black South Africans who called him a white dog and a settler. He never reported any of the incidents to the police.
The immigration boards chairperson, William Davis, said the evidence during a hearing last month painted a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness by the South African government to protect Mr Huntley.
Mr Davis concluded that if Mr Huntley was sent back to South Africa his life would be in danger, and granted him refugee status. The decision caused widespread debate about racism in South Africa, and prompted the government to deny Mr Huntleys assertions about life in his home country. It has asked its Canadian counterpart to challenge the ruling, which it has agreed to do.
However, the story took a bizarre twist on Monday when Mr Mellet related to Mr Huntley via his maternal grandparents wrote on the Cape-Slavery-Heritage website that he had verified Mr Huntleys ancestral breakdown through death notices and the Cape Town city archives.
Over 50 per cent of Brandons relatives are people of colour in Cape Town and dont share his race attitudes or so-called fear problem . . . Brandons great-great-grandmother, Francina, was a woman of colour, married to . . . William Haddon, one of the first Englishmen to settle in the Xalanga district of the Transkei . . . At least one of his direct family, his fathers brother, is married across the colour line.
This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times