The story of a Ndebele man clad in traditional regalia being asked to leave a mall has come full circle. A video of his encounter at the mall went viral late last month.

The matter is now in front of the CRL Rights Commission, which has described the incident as a national crisis.

Thando Mahlangu was confronted by the Boulders Mall Centre Manager, Jose Maponyane, inside the Clicks Store and was told that the Ndebele traditional attire he was wearing was neither decent nor appropriate.

Maponyane could be heard in the video saying he would not condone the outfit at “in my mall.”

“Let’s cut the long story short, we’ve got a right of admission. I don’t condone this in my mall. So, ngicela uphume (please leave),” Mapoyane could be heard saying.

Mahlangu was quick to remind Maponyane that his attire was African in Africa, to which Maponyane insisted that the attire was “not descend” in a public space.

The mall management has since said it regrets the humiliation suffered by Mahlangu and has since suspended the implicated centre manager.

The 35-year old cultural activist says this wasn’t his first humiliation. “The whole experience took me back to the incident that happened of a Gautrain. , I was once kicked out of a Gautrain, for wearing isiNdebele traditional attire and speaking in isiNdebele, for believing in isiNdebele. ”

Redefine Properties, which owns the Boulders Mall in Midrand, says it has personally apologised to Mahlangu.

The commission today summoned Redefine Properties to a hearing to find out what remedial action they are taking following the incident.  

Company CEO, Andrew Konig says they are conducting an internal investigation.

“We deeply regret the incident and we have taken a lot of remedial action and this incident has held up a mirror for us to reflect on all our actions and our staff’s actions. We have publicly acknowledged that Redefine has distanced itself from the centre manager’s actions and we do not condone what happened and we understand that Mr Mahlangu and his lady partner were treated inappropriately.”

Konig said the Property group had also personally apologised to Thando Mahlangu as well as the Ndebele Council for the incident.

“We have directly engaged with Mr Mahlangu and his advisors and Thursday was our last engagement with them and on Friday, a delegation of Redefine went to the royal council and we sat with the council and we humbled ourselves and paid deep respect to the Ndebele nation, as well as apologised for the incident at The Boulders and we are happy to report that we left feeling that we achieved our objective to seek atonement for our actions.”

CRL Chairperson, Professor David Mosoma says the commission will speak to all the parties involved in the incident and then make remedial recommendations later this month.

“The importance of this is to ensure that there is a cultural diverse appreciation of cultures and religions. We think, on the basis of that, we will not be able to give recommendations today, because we need to speak to Mr Maponyane and we request you to bring him on the 19th. So, on that day, we will focus on him and the issues the commissioners have raised to try and understand where he is coming from.”