JOHANNESBURG, June 21, Reuter: The wife of South Africa’s Ambassador to the United States offered to have a Malay girl reclassified as “White” when she heard that the girl was about to marry into the family, newspapers here said today.

The report, splashed across South Africa’s front apges, follows the marriage of the Ambassador’s nephew, Hendrik Koornhof, 24, to a beautiful Malay Moslem, Raehana Bobert, 21.

Until two years ago, mixed marriages were illegal under South Africa’s apartheid race segregation and last week’s wedding has captured huge public attention.

Johannesburg’s Sunday Star said Ambassador Piet Koornhof’s wife, Lulu, was concerned the marriage would cause political embarrassment and offered to arrange for Bobert to be reclassified as a White under race regulations.

Bobert’s present classification is coloured (Mixed race).

The Bobert family was outraged by the offer and it was rejected, the Star said, It quoted Bobert’s mother as saying: “We are very proud people and Hendrik married Raehana because he loves her — it has nothing to do with her colour”.

The couple face a problem about where to set up home. An Apartheid Law, the Group Areas Act, designates where people can live according to the colour of their skin, creating complications for mixed couples.

Unless they gain an official exemption the Koornhofs must live in an area zoned for the partner

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 26, 1987