The man at the centre of a racism controversy in South Africa has apologised for the comments that he made and for causing ‚Äúunspeakable pain to ever single person‚ÄĚ in the country.
This week it was revealed that Nike had temporarily closed several of its stores in South Africa due to racist remarks that a man with links to the company had made while filming himself on a beach.
The video of businessman Adam Catzavelos had been circulating extensively online, in which the businessman referred to black people as ‚Äúkaffir‚ÄĚ, a deeply derogatory slur that was used during the apartheid-era in South Africa.
After people online discovered that Catzavelos was married to Kelly Catzavelos, brand merchandise manager for Nike Africa, calls were made on social media to boycott the sports brand.
Nike issued a statement confirming that the man in the video was not an employee of the company, and said that the brand ‚Äúopposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect.‚ÄĚ
Catzavelos has now given an official statement concerning the debacle, stating that it’s “unacceptable” that he’s caused¬†damage to a country that‚Äôs ‚Äúdesperately trying to heal racial tensions”.
The authenticity of the statement has been confirmed by Jacaranda FM, an independent radio station in South Africa.
The statement reads: ‚ÄúI have been thoughtless and insensitive and shown a complete lack of understanding of what the people in our nation have endured. I have insulted so many people. I am not proud.‚ÄĚ
He continues, writing: ‚ÄúIt is hard to put into words what I want to say and genuinely apologise. I don‚Äôt expect people to forgive me, but will spend the rest of my life repenting and trying to make up for my total lack of respect and judgement.‚ÄĚ
He states that he hopes people who have seen the video don‚Äôt think that his comments reflect the views of other people¬†in South Africa.
‚ÄúI have offended everyone who wants harmony in South Africa including my family and friends,‚ÄĚ he says.
‚ÄúI love South Africa and am proud to have lived in such a beautiful and diverse country.
‚ÄúSo many people have put their love and time into healing South Africa and people like me saying and doing stupid things make it difficult for South Africa to progress.
‚ÄúI apologise unreservedly for the hurt and harm I have caused.”
Catzavelos’ family business, St George’s Fine Foods, dismissed him from the company with immediate effect following the release of the video.