LONDON (AP) — The headmaster of the prestigious English private school Eton College has apologized to one of its first Black students for the racism he was subjected to during the 1960s.
Headmaster Simon Henderson said Tuesday he was “appalled” by the experience Nigerian writer Dillibe Onyeama had during his time at Eton. Onyeama told the BBC he was bullied daily during his four years at the boy’s boarding school.
Fellow students asked if he had maggots in his hair, and he was accused of cheating when he did well academically, Onyeama said.
After Onyeama wrote a book in the 1970s about his Eton years, he was reportedly banned from visiting the school because of it.
Eton’s numerous famous alumni include Britain’s Prince William and Harry, as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and more than a dozen of his predecessors.
When asked by the BBC about Onyeama, Henderson told the broadcaster that “significant strides” have been made at Eton since Onyeama’s time but more needed to be done.
“As millions of people around the world rightly raise their voices in protest against racial discrimination and inequality, we have to have the institutional and personal humility to acknowledge that we still have more to do,” the headmaster said. “We must all speak out and commit to doing better, permanently, and I am determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for real and sustained change for the better.”
Henderson also invited Onyeama to meet so he could apologize in person and on behalf of the school.
Onyeama, 69, is the author of several nonfiction books and novels