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Presenter’s heartfelt account of racism sparks debate

PICTURED: Cécile Djunga

BELGIUM TV presenter Cécile Djunga’s heartfelt video message on her experience of racism in the country has sparked a national debate on the issue.

Djunga, who is also a comedian, is the country’s only black TV presenter and presents the weather on Belgium’s RTBF TV channel.

“Yesterday at work, which means during the weather bulletin, a woman rang to say that I was too black and that she couldn’t see anything on the screen, just my clothes and that I didn’t look good on screen because I was too black and that I had to be told," she said in a video posted on her Facebook page.

Djunga said part of her wanted to laugh but that she was also angry because she was starting to get annoyed at the racist messages she was regularly receiving.

“I’ve been doing this job for a year now and I’ve had enough of receiving loads of racist messages, insulting messages, it’s really starting to make me angry. And it’s upsetting me. Because I’m a human being and obviously I try to rise above it because I’m someone who keeps moving forward, I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, it’s just a vocal minority, but actually it’s just not funny any more. Getting ‘filthy n*****, go back to your country’ actually isn’t funny. So I’ve had enough,” she said.

She added that after not saying anything for year she had decided to speak up because too many people in Belgium think racism does not exist.

The 29-year-old has received an outpouring of support online after posting the video message in which she appears teary eyed.

And it is not just the public that have been backing Djunga.

Her employers, RTBF, are also behind her. Jean-Paul Philippot, the head of RTBF, said there was no place for “this torrent of mud in Belgium”, the BBC reported. RTBF has also said they would consider taking legal action against the people who have targeted Djunga.

Le Soir, a leading newspaper in Belgium published a call to action on addressing racism.

Djunga has said she did not set out to be a spokesperson for anti-racism but that she wanted the moment to mean something.

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