In case you've been living under a rock for the last week, clothing brand H&M has been under fire recently for featuring a black child model in a hoodie that read "the coolest monkey in the jungle." Many on social media labelled the image as offensive, leading to H&M removing the image and pulling the garment from their stores.
But outrage had already gone international. And over the weekend, protesters aligned with South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party, which is a "radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement," according to their website, trashed a store at Sandton City Shopping Centre in Johannesburg.
Images uploaded by shoppers and journalists show protesters outside the store as well as images of the store after it was allegedly trashed by members of the group.
In a statement to local radio station Jacaranda FM, the EFF's Donald Mabunda said:
"We are here to just remind them that the monkeys own this place. We are here to inform them, if you want to undermine the black people in this country, these are the results."
According to News24 journalist Alex Mitchley, the group gave the store 24 hours to close its doors permanently. The group said they will continue to protest indefinitely if the store fails to do so.
Here is what the H&M shop in menlyn mall looks like. EFF member in Tshwane have given the shop 24 hours to close its doors permanently, they say failure to do so, will mean protests will continue outside of the store indefinitely. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/DZpwfowbeV— Alex Mitchley (@AlexMitchley) January 13, 2018
Mabunda claimed to Jacaranda FM that the store has since been closed adding that they are willing to sleep at the shopping center until they can meet with a H&M representative.
That @hm nonsense of a clothing store is now facing consequences for its racism. All rational people should agree that the store should not be allowed to continue operating in South Africa. Well done to Fighters who physically confronted racism. pic.twitter.com/cgdedYGoOj— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) January 13, 2018
Sandton City Shopping Centre issued this statement on Twitter:
Sandton City Shopping Centre confirms that they have engaged with the team leaders of EFF and that the protest outside H&M will be dissipated after they have been issued with the corporate statement of apology by H&M. (1/2)— Sandton City (@SandtonCity) January 13, 2018
We would like to assure our customers that the safety and security of all shoppers and tenants is of paramount importance and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.— Sandton City (@SandtonCity) January 13, 2018
Sandton City remains open for trade as normal. (2/2)
The incident was met with both acceptance and outrage online.
Worth noting that EFF anger at H&M caused chaos but no reports of looting and theft. When you ignore racism and racist behaviour for as long as we have, this is the inevitable outcome. It's a powerful statement that will be taken seriously.— Anton Hochleutner (@AntonHoch1) January 13, 2018
I agree that what H&M did with the hoodie was irresponsible. But the people who trashed a store and prevented employees from going to work and earning a living...YOU are the irresponsible ones. Retail workers don't decide things like this so please don't take it out on them!— Amy Wallace (@YourGirlAmy97) January 15, 2018
Black Americans getting upset about the H&M store being trashed is illogical. The aparthid happened 26 years ago smh. Get over yourself.— jacqulyn .🇹🇹 (@_Jacktheripperr) January 15, 2018
To all those who trashed the H&M in South Africa,— Cheef Kief (@shampaange) January 14, 2018
You fucking idiots.
You didn't do shit to H&M. What you did do is make it harder for the black workers and manager of the store. You put H&M in a better light and all black people in a worse one.
Hope your proud of yourselves.
There’s a video of some man trashing an h&m store, like completely trashed. What is that solving? I just want to know...— IVO (@Davinci_beau) January 13, 2018
Actually disgusting that a H&M store has been trashed over that ad when no one in that store had anything to do with it— gator (@jamieiforster) January 13, 2018
ways than destroying a store. Yes, H&M was wrong for what they did, but those who trashed the stores are also wrong for what they did.— Kaitlynn 🌻🌹 (@ForTheLove0fKay) January 14, 2018
What do you think?