‘Shangaan Jesus’ video evokes mixed reactions

By Drum Digital
11 June 2012

An animated video depicting a black Jesus ashamed of his “Shangaan-ness” has aroused mixed reactions on social networks and online forums following reports that a complaint against it has been brought before the Human Rights Commission (HRC).

The two-minute video depicts a devastated black Jesus contemplating suicide after a doctor had broken the news that Shangaan genes were found in his DNA.

“Jesus” is then seen attempting to get rid of his “Shangaan-ness” by taking a bath in a tub full of juice squeezed out of oranges.

The video, produced by Mdu Comics, has since attracted over 50 000 views on Youtube.

According to news reports, HRC spokesman Vincent Moaga confirmed a complaint had been lodged and that it was being assessed to determine prima facie violation of human rights.

TimesLive reported that Caroline Sithole found the animation offensive and that it had opened up old wounds of growing up being discriminated against because she was Shangaan.

Quoting from her complaint, the news site quoted Sithole as having said that: “Well, it is sad that in this democratic South Africa you still have people who really believe Zulus or other tribes are more superior than Shangaans and that Shangaans are non-human or sub-human.

"No wonder my son refuses to be Shangaan. I grew up being ridiculed by schoolmates for being Shangaan and I was not sure where this hatred was coming from.”

Cartoonist Mdu Mtuli of Mdu Comics said that it is all a joke and that the media makes a big deal out of nothing.

“This is a stupid joke based on township stereotypes. The media is actually the one offensive here by blowing things out of proportion and creating unnecessary drama,” Ntuli said to DRUM.

He was earlier quoted saying that the cartoon “is purely fictional. Every nationality has a joke on each other and that's just how it is. For me, it is just ridiculous for any Tsonga person to take this personally."

The video received mixed reactions on twitter, with two factions arguing for and against it.

“This video is funny! Whoever takes offence must jump. People joke about others all de time!” @NtokozoMkhize tweeted.

@Keratilwe also found the video humourous: “Get over yourselves. See humour in things. You'll live longer.”

But not everyone was pleased by it.

“OMG people have gut to produce such. Some things are too personal to others to make fun of. Let's be respectful,” @RefilweKopong said, with @Spoogzx adding: “it must be noted that most black #southafricans look down on tsonga speakers.”

Watch the video below and tell us what you think:

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