Eton headmaster apologises to black former pupil for racism

The headmaster of Eton College has reportedly apologised to a black former pupil Credit: Matthew Fearn/PA

Eton College's headmaster has reportedly apologised to a black former pupil for the racism he suffered during his time at the school.

Writer Dillibe Onywama told the BBC he was bullied during his four years at the school in the 1960s.

Fellow students used racial slurs and asked if he had maggot on his hair, while he was also accused of cheating if he performed well on a test.

Mr Onyeama, who is Nigerian, wrote about his experiences in a book after he left the school in 1969.

Three years later, he received a letter from Eton informing him he was banned from visiting the school.

Headmaster Simon Henderson said he was "appalled" by the racism Mr Onyeama experienced.

He told the BBC: “Racism has no place in civilised society, then or now.”

He said “significant strides” have been made since Mr Onyeama was at Eton.

He added: “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.

“We must all speak out and commit to doing better, permanently, and I am determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for real and sustained change for the better.”

Wearing their traditional morning dress, pupils gather behind a barrier to watch Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during a visit to Eton College in Windsor in 2010. Credit: PA

Mr Henderson, who took up the role in 2015, invited Mr Onyeama to meet so he could apologise in person and on behalf of the school, adding that he wished to show the writer would always be welcome.

Many educational institutions have come under increased pressure to decolonise the curriculum, tackle racism and boost diversity on campus.

This follows weeks of international Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Eton College, near Windsor in Berkshire, charges fees of more than £40,000 per year and has been attended by both the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

Since 1945, five prime ministers have been educated at Eton, including Boris Johnson.