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SHOP MAN PAINTED BLACK GIRL WHITE.

Byline: JANE FLANAGAN

A SOUTH African man who painted a black girl white was convicted of causing criminal injury yesterday.

Shop worker Albert Mbezi was given a six-month suspended sentence.

But Thelma Strydom - the woman who was alleged to have ordered Mbezi to paint 14-year-old Lorraine Nesane - was cleared of assault.

Lorraine's mother Rebecca described the verdict as "an injustice".

She said: "This was a chance for the courts to make an example of people who think they can abuse and bully children. I am very unhappy."

In her evidence, Lorraine described how she had been dragged to the storeroom by Mbezi after Strydom claimed she had stolen clothes from Pep Store in Louis Trichardt.

After being forced to strip to the waist, she said she was painted from head to waist and then forced to walk home in that state.

She said it took weeks to wash the paint off and she had suffered from dizzy spells, recurring headaches and bullying for months afterwards.

Haunting photographs of Lorraine smothered in white paint drew condemnation from around the world.

The attack also led to a spate of copycat "paint punishments".
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2001
Words:190
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