Racism in SA fashion advert stirs noise on social media

Sharon Kavhu

The fashion advertisement of a young black boy wearing a hoodie written, ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ standing next to another white boy of the same age wearing a hoodie designed with a leopard print written, ‘Mangrove jungle survival expert’ has stirred noise on social media in South Africa.

The advert which was issued by a Swedish clothing giant Hennes and Mauritz (HM) last week on their website, has been criticised for degrading the humanity of black people in the region.

Even though HM has since removed the advert from its website due to social media critics on Monday, the advertisement is still viral and the racism accusations and critics are ongoing on social media.

South Africa Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa has described the advert as a racist act which devalues the dignity of black people.

“We are absolutely appalled by this racist advertisement attributed to @HM which strips the child in the green of basic human dignity,” Nathi said on his twitter page.

“While we note the apology as necessary we cannot accept that it’s sufficient based on the amount of damage it has caused. cc @HMsouthafrica.”

Stephanie Yeboah a South African style blogger also tweeted:

“Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’?”

Some people also criticise the company for devaluing the two boys despite their race.

“Also, let’s not overlook the kid in the orange hoodie… jungle survival expert😩 kunzima!!!” tweeted Andile Gamedze.”

Last year, there was an issue of racism on South African television production.

SA television tycoon, Shona Ferguson made a post which insinuate that TV production in his country was characterised with ill-treatment as whites were treated as superior over blacks.

In his post he said that black people are ill-treated for doing well, creating jobs and giving people opportunities in television production whereas white producers are never disrespected by black people.

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