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Dutch paper sorry for 'tasteless' Mandela article

9:03 AM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
A giant signed poster with messages of support is attached to the former Soweto home, turned museum, of former South African president Nelson Mandela, Soweto, South Africa, Friday Dec. 6 2013. Mandela passed away Thursday night after a long illness. He was 95. As word of Mandela's death spread, current and former presidents, athletes and entertainers, and people around the world spoke about the life and legacy of the former South African leader (AP/Athol Moralee)
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The top-selling Dutch newspaper has apologized for a story on its website that linked the death of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela with a controversial black-face character in the traditional Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas.

In the opening sentence of an article collating reactions to Mandela's death, De Telegraaf said Friday that Mandela "died (with Black Pete) on Sinterklaas evening."

Black Pete is the helper of Saint Nicholas, known in the Netherlands as Sinterklaas, who brings children gifts on Dec. 5. Black Pete traditionally is portrayed by people in black-face makeup.

The character has been the focus of a fierce debate in the Netherlands recently between fans of the Sinterklaas tradition and opponents who call Black Pete a racist throwback.

The Telegraaf blamed the "tasteless link" on "an unfortunate convergence of circumstances."

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