Bee Gee: I never felt I was an honorary white

17:00, May 08 2010
Bryan Williams

BRYAN "Bee Gee" Williams says he never considered himself an "honorary white" during the All Blacks' controversial 1970 tour of South Africa.

For him, as a 19-year-old, he was simply living a dream that began as a young Samoan boy growing up in Auckland.

Forty years on, South Africa's Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile has slammed the decision of Williams and Maori Sid Going to tour as "honorary whites".

Stofile says while black South Africans rejoiced in the pair's playing abilities, "We hated/despised them for selfishly looking at their aspirations whilst trampling on those of black South Africa".

"It [Stofile's comments] sits fine by me," Williams yesterday told Sunday News. "[But] I never felt that I was an honorary white. I went as `Bee Gee' Williams – a young Samoan All Black. I didn't coin that term [honorary white] and never felt like I was being treated that way."

Fellow 1970 "honorary white" tourist Going yesterday told Sunday News: "I have no comment to make about that. I can't see the point going back and talking about things like that."

Williams said neither his decision nor that of his team-mates to tour was intended to back the apartheid regime.

"[But] I personally would have hated being denied the opportunity of playing for the All Blacks and going to South Africa. If that opportunity had been denied to me, I would have been pretty dirty on it."

Williams backed Stofile's apology to Maori over race-based rugby tours. "Apologies are always a positive thing. People are saying sorry for misdeeds of the past," he said. "That [the apology] is fine, that is great." But Going said: "I can't see the point in going back in history like that and demanding apologies. What has been, has been."


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