When award-winning South African actor Anthony Wilson stood up to speak in Oudtshoorn this weekend, he could not have known what a furore his words would cause.

Because they seem to have struck a raw nerve - among both those who agree with him and those who don't.

Wilson spent the weekend at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (Klein Karoo National Arts Festival).

He was at a lecture on "Bruin?" (Coloured?). Its subject was described as "the coloured identity, their issues and their political and intellectual leadership figures".

Wilson said: "The Boers stole, but at least they budgeted and did not steal everything. They stole the cream, but the darkies are stealing the cream, the milk and the bucket.

"We (coloured people) swapped five million farmers for 34 million blacks."

He said blacks were responsible "for more polarisation than whites".

Wilson is a veteran South African actor. Despite a long career in television and on stage, he is best-known for his work in community theatre in Eersterust, Pretoria.

He was born in Marabastad, Pretoria, from where his and hundreds of other coloured families were forcibly removed during apartheid.

He has received a best director award for a 13-part series on District Six, Onder Engele (Under Angels).

He is currently performing Marabastad kaskanades, a play about growing up in the suburb before its destruction.

Last night he elaborated on what he had said: "I'm not saying that coloured people were better off under apartheid," he told the Cape Argus. "But are coloured people being marginalised? Yes.

"The ANC (African National Congress) is a great party - the best party to lead this country. The rand is doing well. But if I look around me, I do not see the wealth being spread around evenly.

"We (coloureds) are being victimised. We are being turned into the new slaves of our country, and only because we look different."

On affirmative action, he said: "White people (who were still largely the owners of South Africa's industries) are offering affirmative action to curry favour with the blacks.

"But we are not considered black, we are only half black. When we apply for jobs, we apply for jobs as coloureds.

"This entire damn country belongs to us, long before whites set foot here by boat.

"It's not good enough to say we are central to the monogram of South Africa (the Khoi and San symbols on the national coat of arms).

"Once upon a time Khoi and San people were hunted like vermin. We need to guard that that doesn't happen again.

"We should guard that the oppressed (the blacks) should not become the oppressors.

"We made crosses (on ballot sheets in 1994). Now we are being crucified on those crosses.

"I am an artist. I have no political ambition whatsoever. I didn't want to offend anyone.

"All I want is a fair dispensation. That, to me, is what the whole struggle is about."

Rhoda Kadalie - human rights activist is asked: "Are coloured people being marginalised?"

"Yes. Every year before the election they are considered to be voting fodder. Suddenly the NNP (New National Party) is interested, the ANC is interested. Suddenly you see the largess being distributed to coloured people before the elections.

"Coloured people are never considered to be citizens in their own right, but always an appendage of either one group or another. They are not considered to be part of the rainbow nation.

"I find these (Wilson's) utterances very encouraging, because I think people need to talk about it.

"I never want to be seen as a spokesperson for the coloured people, but I too have been told by people that I should know my place in the racial hierarchy of this country. It didn't matter that I was competent in what I was doing, or that I have political credentials.

"Coloured people rightly feel that they have been left out of the pie, and that they get the crumbs.

"As racist as Wilson's words might sound, that is what people on the Cape Flats are saying. Black economic empowerment doesn't include them.

"In the United Democratic Front (UDF) we developed a creative non-racialism. It died the day the ANC took over."

Nigel Pierce - controversial talk show host is asked: "Are coloured people being marginalised?"

"Wilson is an absolute nutter. He's swimming against the tide.

"Using apartheid's racial terminology, he's immediately boxing himself in.

"I can't understand how people can identify themselves as 'coloured'. Is it the texture of their hair? The colour of their eyes? Whether or not they have a flat nose? The colour of their skin?

"We live in a cosmopolitan society and coloured people are symbolic and representative of that society. We're not 'coloured'!

"This is exactly what Peter Marais subscribes to, and it's amazing how many people listen to him.

"What is scary is that he is going to garner enough votes to get a seat in the provincial parliament. It all stems back to pre-1994 and swart gevaar tactics, which people still believe.

"In 1994 and 1999 they voted based on fear - that 'they are going to come and take our houses, our jobs'.

"It's just racist, there's no other way to describe it. If you go into a coloured township and talk politics, you'll hear the 'k' word all the time, with the belief that coloured people are superior to blacks.

"If we go that route, we'll marginalise ourselves."