Father targeted in south Belfast racist attack speaks out to protect next generation

A black father whose family home was targeted in a racist attack in south Belfast has told UTV he won't be deterred from speaking out against hate.

Takura Makoni's teenage son woke up on Sunday morning to find graffiti daubed on the front of their house, stating "Taura not welcome".

Takura joked that the individual was in such a rush, they spelled his name wrong.

The intent behind the words was no laughing matter to police, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

Takura told UTV he was surprised to see the graffiti but not frightened.

"Because of my speaking out against anti-immigrant posters a few months ago, he [my son] felt that, look dad, they've identified us because of what you've done and if you keep speaking out, it's going to get worse," said Takura.

"His concern concerned me because you never want your children to feel that what you're doing is putting them in danger.

"But at the same time, if I don't pay attention to these issues and speak out for people regarding issues like this, it means that my children will be experiencing these things 30 years to come because I didn't speak out when I could have."

Takura has lived in Northern Ireland for over 20 years now. Racist slurs and micro- aggressions are nothing new - but he says the majority of society are welcoming, especially his neighbours in Finaghy.

South Belfast has seen a spate of hate crimes in the past year, from nazi flags erected outside a mosque to anti-immigration signs slapped across different neighbourhoods.

South Belfast Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl told UTV these behaviours do not represent the majority of people living in the area.

"There is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

"We need a robust racial equality strategy, we need politicians condemning it and we need more than just words, we need to start putting in place plans so we can start to address it."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.