Members of the South African National Civic Organization (Sanco) Youth Congress held a protest outside the Boulders Shopping Center building in Midrand on March 26 following a social media storm that erupted on the 24th. March. A viral video posted on social media showed the centre’s director telling client Thando Mahlangu, who was wearing his traditional isiNdebele outfit, that he was dressed inappropriately.
Pascaline Mazibuko, organizer of the Sanco Youth Congress in Nkangala, said the group had come from Mpumalanga to protest the mall. Mazibuko added that they first contacted Mahlangu to find out if he would support the protest.
“We are under Mahlangu’s instruction and his request. Mahlangu and his representatives will speak to management and say what they would like to see happen. Ours is right to ensure that communities are protected to ensure that African culture is not lost, ”Mazibuko said.
Following the incident, Redefine Properties, owner of the shopping center, released a statement saying that the manager of the center had been suspended. However, Mazibuko said that was not enough. “Boulders Mall should have a program to educate its staff and tenants about our different cultures. The suspension is just a PR stunt.
Mahlangu told the Reporter Midrand that he had made no inquiries as to how he would like the matter to be handled by the management of the mall.
He added that the Kwa Ndebele chiefdom wanted the center leadership to come to the Ndebele Palace to apologize as they had humiliated the Ndebele tribe, culture and language, and Mahlangu as an artist representing the IsiNdebele culture.
Redefine Properties CEO Andrew König said the company respects the choice of all South Africans to dress, associate and assert their identity and cultural beliefs. “In the immediate future, we will strengthen diversity training efforts for all our center directors. “
König said Redefine Properties and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) began talks on March 26, which ended on March 29. He said they had agreed on a number of initiatives.
“Redefine Properties will organize training sessions on culture and human rights with all its frontline staff and leadership as a national response under the leadership of the SAHRC.
Culture and human rights training sessions would be piloted at Boulders Mall over the next three months.
Redefine Properties has also agreed to provide the SAHRC with its internal human resources, human rights and diversity policies for the SAHRC’s contribution.
“Redefine Properties will host, at its own expense, a cultural exhibition where different cultures can showcase their cultural practices through the display and sale of traditional cultural clothing, artifacts and an information session on indigenous knowledge systems.
“Redefine Properties has contacted Thando Mahlangu and hopes to meet him soon and looks forward to the opportunity for meaningful engagement,” König concluded.
UPDATE: The Hanging Boulders Mall Manager