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Sun Dec 21 12:40:19 SAST 2014

No apology for use of the k-word

TELFORD VICE Brisbane | 12 November, 2012 00:48
SLURS: Former Australian cricketer Greg Ritchie, now a frequent guest speaker

Greg Ritchie has refused to apologise to South Africans for his use of "the k-word" during a speech he made last week but he has promised not to use it again.

The former Australian Test player also insists, erroneously, that the epithet originated in South Africa.

Ritchie was the guest speaker at a lunch for members of the Brisbane Cricket Ground Trust at the Gabba on Friday - the opening day of the Test series between Australia and South Africa.

"Hey, Kepler, you're not going to call this lot k*****s today, are you?" Ritchie said while relating an anecdote.

He also delivered a slew of jokes in which Muslims were the victims of the punch line.

Kepler Wessels, who played in the same Australian team as Ritchie in the 1980s, said at the weekend that he did not know what Ritchie was referring to and was considering taking legal action against him.

Ritchie said yesterday the tale was related to a tour match in 1980 in which he and Wessels played for Queensland against West Indies.

"I tell that story all the time," an unrepentant Ritchie told the Sunday Times.

"At no stage did I infer or say that Kepler was using that remark. At no stage did I say that I used that remark. The context is what a dreadful thing it is to say.

"It's got nothing to do with the use of the word. It's inferring that you would never use that word to the West Indies."

Asked if he thought he should apologise to South Africans, Ritchie replied: "Why would I owe South Africans an apology? I have never ever used that word. But it came from your country so I don't need to apologise to you.

"I think it's a shocking word and it originated from your country. I want to emphasise that.

"I have a lot of good South African friends," he said. "I've been to your wonderful country. I've done fund-raising stuff over there."

The k-word is an Arabic term used by slave traders plying Africa's coast in the 16th century to describe non-Muslims.

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