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S.African lensman Alf Kumalo brings charges over racial slur

Esteemed South African photographer Alf Kumalo has pressed charges against a man who called him a racial slur and threatened him in a restaurant, The Star newspaper said Monday.

Kumalo, 81, was one of South Africa’s first black photojournalists and has won international acclaim for his work documenting apartheid-era abuses.

He has opened a case of defamation against a rowdy restaurant patron who called him a “bloody kaffir” and threatened to hurt him, The Star reported.

The “K-word”, as it is referred to locally, is among the most derogatory terms in South Africa for a black person.

“This is about history and respect. I have to go through with this,” Kumalo told The Star, where he worked during part of his more than 50-year career.

Restaurant manager Romalin Moodley told The Star that the customer, Denis Athanastotoulos, had become unruly while watching the Australian Open on January 29, and had already been asked twice by management to calm down.

When he again became loud and aggressive, Kumalo approached him and said, “With all this noise, how do you expect us to eat?” according to Moodley.

Athanastotoulos responded angrily and threatened to hit Kumalo with a wine bottle, said The Star.

The case has been set down for March 27 in a local magistrate’s court.