SAHRC to investigate after man in traditional attire told to leave the mall

The SAHRC said the incident was discriminatory and a clear violation of South Africa’s Constitution, adding that it was shocked and disgusted by the confrontation.

Screenshot of video where activist Thando Mahlangu can be seen in his traditional regalia inside a Clicks store at Boulders Shopping Centre in Midrand – while centre manager Jose Maponyane asks him to leave. Picture: Twitter/Screengrab

JOHANNESBURG – The Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is investigating the case of a customer who was ordered to leave a Johannesburg shopping centre because, according to the manager, his traditional attire was ‘indecent’.

In a video that has been widely shared online, Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu can be seen in his traditional regalia inside a Clicks store at Boulders Shopping Centre in Midrand – while centre manager Jose Maponyane asks him to leave.

The SAHRC on Thursday said the incident was discriminatory and a clear violation of South Africa’s Constitution, adding that it was shocked and disgusted by the confrontation.

Describing Mahlangu’s ordeal as shameful, the commission’s Chris Nissan said the incident was devoid of the principles of human dignity.

READ: Boulders Shopping Centre manager suspended over Ndebele clothing incident

“This is completely unacceptable and it violates the Constitution. Therefore, as a commission - from our Gauteng office - we will be doing an investigation into this matter. The man’s dignity has been violated, but also that of many South Africans.”

Nissan said South Africans had a right to dress, associate and assert their identity and cultural beliefs.

“Why should we comply with Western clothing for what is seen to be decent? What is decent? It doesn’t mean a suit and a tie. This man is a shopper and should be respected as a shopper.”

Meanwhile, the owners of Boulders Shopping Centre – Redefine Properties – have suspended the centre manager.

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