Eaton Offers Apology To Dillibe Onyeama 48 Years After Barring Him From School Campus
Eton College was founded by King Henry VI in 1440 and has a worldwide reputation for its high educational standards.
Currently, it charges fees of more than £40,000 ($50,000) a year. Enrolment stands at 1,320 with Black pupils totalling about 7%, Asians 8% and those of mixed ethnicity 5%.
Eton has educated some of the highest-ranking members of British and Nigerian society, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is the 20th British prime minister to have attended the school, as did Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and both the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.
Dillibe Onyeama was registered to go to Eton at birth by his father, an eminent Oxford-educated Nigerian judge. He was the second African ever to go to Eton College, “the world’s most famous school” as he calls it, where he arrived in January 1965, aged fourteen.
He graduated four years later in 1969 and wrote a book Nigger at Eaton about the racism he experienced at the school and for that was subsequently banned from setting foot on the campus again.
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The current headmaster of the College Simon Henderson has now apologised for the actions of the school and says he is "appalled" by the racism experienced by Onyeama.
He shared: "We have made significant strides since Onyeama was at Eton but - 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 further promised that he would invite Onyeama to meet him and to apologise in person and "to make it clear that he will always be welcome at Eton".
Onyeama responding maintained that an apology was not needed and that on the whole, his experience at Eaton was positive and rewarding. He said, however, that the apology "compels the recognition that prejudice on the grounds of colour or race dehumanises its victims in a way that ordinary forms of prejudice do not".
In any case, as the saying goes, it is better late than never.