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Tutu urges whites to apologize for apartheid

South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Wednesday that unless white people apologized for the wrongs of apartheid, the burden of guilt would be passed on to the next generation.

"I am appealing to Afrikaners especially but also to most whites," Tutu told the mainly white parliamentary press club. "You are being given the only opportunity you are ever going to get to come to terms with the awful things you did to us."It will come out in your children carrying the burden of guilt for their mothers and fathers," he said. "I am praying that one day you white people will understand."

Afrikaners are the descendants of Dutch colonists and make up about 60 percent of the white population.

Tutu, who chairs the country's statutory Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said he had been attacked in the black community for trying too hard to embrace whites.

"I am still doing it, but this is the last opportunity you have," he said.

Tutu said he could have chosen to subpoena former president P.W. Botha to testify at the truth commission in 1996, but he gave the apartheid strongman a chance to come freely.

Botha is due to appear in court next Monday to answer charges of contempt for ignoring a commission subpoena Tutu issued late last year after giving up trying to persuade Botha to testify of his own accord.

Tutu said he felt deeply saddened when Botha appeared in court last month at the start of the contempt hearing and said he had nothing to apologize for.

"They actually wrote in Rapport (an Afrikaans newspaper) that here is the man who could lead us and praised him to high heaven," Tutu said.

Tutu said Afrikaners lost the political power that had guaranteed their identity in 1994 and had found a new enemy around which to unite in his commission.