South African mall manager suspended for barring shopper in traditional wear

  • Published on The East African on 26th March 2021
Ndebele women in traditional attire. PHOTO | FILE | NMG
  • Thando Mahlangu, a Ndebele activist, who was dressed in traditional Ndebele wear, was asked to leave a Clicks store, a pharmacy chain, in Boulders Shopping Centre in Johannesburg Mall by the Centre’s manager. The Centre’s manager, who is a black man, informed Mahlangu the reason he was asked to leave was because his clothing was “not decent”. Mahlangu refused to leave the store and stated that it was his right to remain there. Mahlangu was wearing a traditional Ndebele dress, which consisted of a bright, colourful shawl and a headdress of porcupine quills. The Ndebele people are part of a larger tribe called the Nguni, who comprise two thirds of South Africa’s Black population.
  • This incident was recorded and posted onto social media, where it caused great controversy among the public. Members of the public accused the Centre’s manager of discrimination. The company Clicks has re-stated that it was not an employee of their company that asked the customer to leave the store. The store manager of Clicks asked the Centre’s manager to leave the store and allowed the customer to continue shopping. The company will be filing a complaint against the Centre’s manager.
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