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Fri Nov 28 17:45:13 SAST 2014

'Beaten up over how I look'

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 05 February, 2013 00:09
TTP7TATTOO05-04-02-2013-16-02-03-254-.jpg
Wilfred Hurwitz was beaten unconscious Picture: SIZWE NDINGANE
Image by: Sizwe Ndingane

The heavily tattooed Wilfred Hurwitz is used to being spat at and branded a "devil" or "murderer" - but on Friday morning the attack was physical.

He was left unconscious in a pool of blood in Brooklyn, Pretoria East, after being smashed on the back of the head with a brick and kicked in the face.

The 48-year-old tattoo artist had almost finished his daily 20km run when a bakkie came up behind him,its occupants insulting him about his appearance. He ignored the insults and continued running, thinking of the bowl of oats he was going to have at home.

"I realised they were looking for trouble when they made a U-turn and switched off the lights. Still I continued running but as I turned left into William Street the bakkie was inches [away] from me, revving," he said.

About six "big young men" got out of the bakkie and one of them said "Ons gaan jou nou op f** (Now we are going to f*** you up)".

"All I remember was a cracking blow on my head. I woke up moments later in a pool of blood," he said.

Hurwitz got his first tattoo 20 years ago and his last one about five years ago.

"This is how I want to look. I cannot believe people could be so aggressive about how another person looks. Pretoria is the only place with this mentality. Over the years, [Pretoria] has become a conservative stronghold. Why can't we accept and respect people who look different?"

In December, when Hurwitz went to a public swimming pool in Hatfield, a woman offered to pray for him because he was going to "burn in hell".

"I am not afraid, I am going to continue running. This is who I am," he said. Hurwitz said he will continue to go jogging.

Brooklyn police station's Lieutenant Linda Jerling said the police were investigating but that no arrests had been made.

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