Mall at centre of Ndebele traditional attire incident to host 'cultural exhibition'

Redefine Properties, together with the SA Human Rights Commission, has also committed to conduct cultural and human rights training sessions with all its front-facing staff and management

Thando Mahlangu said he felt embarrassed when he was asked to leave Boulders Shopping Centre because he was dressed in traditional Ndebele attire.
Thando Mahlangu said he felt embarrassed when he was asked to leave Boulders Shopping Centre because he was dressed in traditional Ndebele attire.
Image: Twitter via Kgopolo Mphela

The Midrand mall that Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu was asked to leave for being dressed “inappropriately” will soon be the site of a “cultural exhibition”.

This follows a meeting between the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and Redefine Properties at which it was decided that, among other things, the company would host the event.

Mahlangu was thrust into the spotlight after he was told to leave the Clicks store in the Boulders Shopping Centre in Midrand because, according to the centre manager, he was dressed “inappropriately”.

Saying after the talks on Monday, the SAHRC's Buang Jones said: “The talks centred on exploring joint initiatives relating to awareness on the importance of human rights in corporate SA. These engagements were made taking into account the rights of Mr Mahlangu, Ms Nqobile Masuku [who was with Mahlangu, and who recorded the exchange], including those of Mr Jose Maponyane, the centre manager, and the rights of the Ndebele nation as a whole.”

At the exhibition, different cultures will be able to showcase their practices through the display and sale of cultural traditional attire, artefacts and through information sessions on indigenous knowledge systems.

Redefine, together with the SAHRC, said it would conduct cultural and human rights training sessions with all front-facing staff and managers.

“The cultural and human rights training sessions will be piloted at the Boulders Shopping Centre within the next three months. Redefine Properties has agreed to provide the SAHRC with its internal policies in relation to human resources, human rights and diversity for the SAHRC's input,” said two said in a joint statement.

Jones said Redefine had contacted Mahlangu and expected to meet him shortly, and that the company welcomed the opportunity for meaningful engagement.

The mall manager at the centre of the incident has been suspended.

“Redefine Properties and the SAHRC recognise the significant opportunity that is presented by this matter, to illuminate and bring to the fore the contribution and identity of the Ndebele nation in the broader South African society,” said the group in the joint statement.

“Redefine Properties perceives itself as a vehicle for change and for the rights of marginalised communities to be respected and upheld.”

TimesLIVE


subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.