WATCH | Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu reduced to tears after meeting mall management

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  • Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu walked out of a meeting with management of the Boulders Shopping Centre in Johannesburg on Thursday.
  • He said management was unwilling to meet his demands.
  • A video went viral on social media, which showed Mahlangu being hounded by the mall's manager, Jose Maponyane, for wearing traditional Ndebele attire.


Ndebele activist Thando Mahlangu was teary-eyed on Thursday after talks with Boulders Shopping Centre management collapsed.

"I am not happy with the offer that they are offering us. I am not happy with the way they are handling things as well," he said during a media briefing.

In March, a video went viral on social media, which shows Mahlangu being hounded by the mall's manager, Jose Maponyane.

In the video, Maponyane asks Mahlangu to leave a store because he was "indecently" dressed.

WATCH | Man in Ndebele attire told to leave Clicks store by mall management for dressing 'indecently'

Mahlangu was dressed in traditional Ndebele attire.

Thursday's meeting was the second between Mahlangu and management.

After the first meeting with the centre owners, Redefine Properties, he said they should paint the mall to reflect the Ndebele culture's colours.

He also requested that the mall open a store that would sell products that promote African traditions.

The parties, however, couldn't reach an agreement.

Thando Mahlangu
An emotional Thando Mahlangu was left unhappy after his meeting with the Boulders Shopping Centre on Thursday.
News24 Chanté Schatz

No way forward

Redefine Properties then met the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and committed to piloting cultural and human rights training sessions for their employees.

The centre owners also committed to hosting a cultural exhibition, where different cultures would showcase their practices by displaying and selling traditional cultural attire and artefacts.

"They are not taking us seriously. They are not willing to do anything," Mahlangu said.

A new direction

Andrew König, chief executive officer of Redefine Properties, said they are still willing to engage with Mahlangu and his team.

"Our engagement with Thando Mahlangu did not reach a conclusion during the meeting yesterday. We remain open to engaging with his representatives again. We will provide more information when talks conclude."

Mahlangu said that he would keep fighting for AmaNdebele to be recognised, adding that they will be taking a different direction to resolve the issue.

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