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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.

Auckland Abhors African

Auckland Abhors African

Sahr Gbenda-Charles came to New Zealand from Sierra Leone prepared to be treated as a stranger. But Auckland considered him some sort of protozoa. One girl carefully wiped her hand with a handkerchief after he had accidentally touched it at a dance. At another, a student who danced with him referred to him as "that black thing."

He told of the landlady of some student friends who asked him not to come back again because he made her feel sick. He applied for a vacation job at a freezing works over the phone. He gave his name as S. G. Charles. When he arrived to work there was no job for him.

Ghenda-C'harles did not think these incidents shocking. He said the only way to treat them was to laugh at them.

What did shock him was the lack of academic hospitality in New Zealand universities. He said students do not realise they are hosts to overseas people studying in their country. They should take the initiative in discussing university work with foreign students who experience great handicaps in language.

A great many overseas students take up important administrative posts when they return to their own countries. If they have been ignored by students they may not further New Zealand's interests in their government policies.

Sahr Gbenda-Charles