T-shirt de­signs anger SA Hin­dus

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SAMEER NAIK

TWO lo­cal cloth­ing de­sign­ers are in trou­ble over their sub­ver­sive Hindu de­ity-in­spired T-shirts.

This week the SA Hindu Maha Sabha, the gov­ern­ing body of all Hindu as­so­ci­a­tions in the coun­try, de­manded that the two de­sign­ers, Benoni com­mu­ni­ca­tion stu­dent Michan Marais and online com­pany Tshirt Ter­ror­ist, im­me­di­ately re­move their “of­fen­sive” cloth­ing items af­ter they re­ported the mat­ter to the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

Marais won sec­ond place in the Makhulu Polane T- shirt de­sign com­pe­ti­tion ear­lier this year for her “Bo­erd­dha” de­sign, fea­tur­ing a khaki-clad, bearded man with eight arms, sit­ting cross-legged on a large plant. In his many hands are a Protea, a beer bot­tle, sling­shot, rugby ball, braai tongs, mealie cob and a spring­bok head.

Online com­pany Tshirt Ter­ror­ist stocks a T-shirt bear­ing an illustration re­sem­bling the Hindu god­dess Kali, hold­ing a US flag, a ham­burger, US dol­lar notes, a de­cap­i­tated Mickey Mouse head, a sy­ringe and a smok­ing gun.

SA Hindu Maha Sabha pres­i­dent Ash­win Trikam­jee said the Hindu com­mu­nity was out­raged. “It is un­ac­cept­able when de­sign­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers con­tinue to in­sult re­li­gious be­liefs, and even more so when the se­ri­ous­ness is brought to their at­ten­tion,” he said.

“Hin­dus may not ap­pear to be mil­i­tant. but the de­sign­ers must pre­pare for a se­ri­ous chal­lenge if they per­sist, de­spite re­quests to re­move the items forth­with.”

Tshirt Ter­ror­ist chief Harry Fokker said they would not be re­mov­ing the “Kal­i­for­nia” shirt from their cat­a­logue.

“Un­der no cir­cum­stances will we al­low our­selves to be pres­sured into lim­it­ing the scope and the di­rec­tion of our art,” he said.

Fokker con­sid­ered the work done by his com­pany as satire, “an art form”, and said they also ref­er­enced Chris­tian­ity, Is­lam and Rasta­far­i­an­ism.

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