The demand for Boulders Mall to account for the discrimination

The demand for Boulders Mall to account  for the discrimination

MIDRAND : The Ndebele nation and various cultural groups took to Boulders Shopping Centre to demand that the Centre Manager must be fired following his utterances to isiNdebele Cultural Activist Thando Mahlangu saying his traditional attire is indecent. This follows a video that went viral from Tuesday 23 March showing the Centre Manager Jose Maponyane telling Thando Mahlangu that he should not enter the Centre in his traditional attire saying it was “indecent”. This discriminatory treatment to Mahlangu spiked curiosity and concern amongst most cultural groups particularly Amandebele who took to Boulders Mall to demand that Maponyane be fired immediately or else the shopping should shut down its business operations. The shopping centre was flooded with Cultural activists, various Amandebele chiefs from Delmas, Phola, Ogies, Witbank, Midrand,Tembisa and KwaMhlanga, political parties and civic movements organisations most dressed in traditional attire to bring to the shopping centre’s attention that all citizens have the right to wear traditional regalia when and where they wish to.“We are here today to bring the message to this Shopping Centre’s management that we will not back down after the disgusting way in which their manager treated one of our own and that we have the right to be recognised as Amandebele and the right to wear our traditional regalia”, said Ndabezitha Sipho Mahlangu from Phola. The GAUTENG MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe was part of the discussions on the way forward following the incident. The new Acting Centre’s manager Howard Kekana announced that Maponyane was suspended following an internal investigation. ekana was in the company of his colleagues from Redefine properties Leon Khor, Chief Operating Officer for, Marijke Coetzee, Marketing and Communications Manager and the Executive droom Clicks Thabo Khebane. Khor apologised for the behaviour of the suspended manager, “ What has happened is clear that it is wrong… All of us need to see the way forward… Our differences in race, class and culture should not make us behave differently. As the centre’s management, we are here to listen and receive feedback from all of you”, he said. MEC Hlophe expressed her relief following the Centre’s apology saying that she was worried coming to this meeting on the values of the Centre in terms of diversity. “ We come from an apartheid system which has caused division amongst indigenous groups… the Manager obviously has self-hate. It is clear that he sees his black skin and his black culture as something that is wrong”. “As government we are worried about the rehabilitation measures that the Centre employs… He himself is imprisoned “, said Hlophe. “It’s no longer the issue of black on white. We have a problem that even amongst us black people some of the languages are given more preferences than others. Languages that are viewed as below others should be uplifted”, added Hlophe. Leaders of various organisations’ demands were tabled by most organisations such as the African National Youth League through the Secretary for the Greater Midrand Bongani Sibisi, South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) represented by various leaders from Delmas, The Greater Johannesburg, Midrand and the Tshwane Region, the South African Communist Party (SACP) through Meshack Mdlalose. Midrand ANCYL’s Masibi said: “We had a meeting with the leadership of the youth league. Our demands include that Mr Maponyane be fired because he is not fit to be centre manager. We are the buyers in this mall therefore if we decide that we will not buy this building will be useless” Other demands from the ANCYL included that the Centre pays fees to at least five isiNdebele speaking students studying at the University of the Witwatersrand and a cultural and art exhibition to be hosted and sponsored by the Centre giving youth entrepreneurial opportunities. In closing of the discussions the various Ndebele chiefs requested that the Centre management visit the Royal Chieftaincy for proper discussions and negotiations on 30 March which the centre’s management welcomed.

The Ndebele Traditional fanatics and leadership came out in numbers to protest against the Centre Manager of Boulders Mall Jose Maponyane who belittled Thando Mahlangu for wearing isiNdebele’s traditional garments. Picture Credits Mologadi Kekana
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