Zuma: British view Africans as 'barbaric'

March 3, 2010 at 11:35 AM
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 3 (UPI) -- South African President Jacob Zuma Wednesday called the British "imperialists" and said they view Africans as "barbaric."

His comments came hours before he was to arrive in London for meetings with Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a two-night stay at Buckingham Palace.

Zuma, a 67-year-old polygamist, said he was angry over being pilloried in the British press in recent days after the birth of his 20th child, out of wedlock, The Daily Telegraph reported. A Daily Mail article labeled Zuma "a sex-obsessed bigot with four wives and 35 children."

In an interview with South Africa's Independent newspaper group, Zuma said the British believe they're superior to Africans and blamed the colonial past.

"I don't know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others, those who might have said so," Zuma said. "I am very clear on these issues. I've not looked down upon any culture of anyone, and no one has been given an authority to judge others.

"The British have done that before, as they colonized us, and they continue to do this, and it's an unfortunate thing."

A member of the Zulu tribe, Zuma is allowed to have multiple wives.

A spokesman for Zuma, Vincent Magwenya, said the president's comments would not affect the official visit, which would focus on "substantial and serious issues."

"The comments he made were not aimed at the British public in general but at certain sections of the media which have lambasted him for what he considers to be his culture," Magwenya said. "He does not appreciate reading things which he considers are patronizing to his culture."

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