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THE SA Human Rights Commission has been asked to look into a cartoon in which Jesus commits suicide because he discovers he is Shangaan.
The two-minute animation, Jesus is a Shangaan, has been viewed more than 77 000 times on YouTube. In it, Jesus sits on a hospital bed. He expects to hear a prognosis from a doctor on his broken toe but instead receives some shocking news – he is a Shangaan.
Two complaints have been lodged with the SAHRC, but Mdu Ntuli, creator of the iziKhokho Show by Mdu Comics, says it was never his intention to offend.
Ntuli said yesterday the video had been targeted at a township audience which would understand the humour.
“It’s not personal. Understanding that background, I can do something like that. I feel the cartoon was misunderstood. I wanted to expose how ridiculous the stereotypes are that exist.”
Ntuli said people should learn to laugh at themselves and at others. “I was making a bit of fun. I have made fun of every group.”
He said his previous cartoons had poked fun at Zulus, Xhosas and Indians.
In the cartoon, a forlorn doctor says to Jesus: “Jesus, there is no easy way of telling you this. Jesus, you are a Shangaan.” Jesus appears devastated. “People won’t take me seriously,” he says.
After trying to cure himself of his “Shangaanness” by scrubbing himself with
oranges, Jesus decides to kill himself and writes a suicide note.
SAHRC spokesman Vincent Moaga said the commission was investigating whether the two complaints were valid.
It would also decide whether the SAHRC was the correct institution to deal with the complaint.
Steven Ngobeni, a Johannesburg-based preacher who lodged a complaint, said he was disgusted. “I feel that the cartoon is a disgrace to the Shangaan people and it attacks the Christian faith. We don’t believe in suicide and we don’t believe in ridiculing people of other ethnic groups.”
Ngobeni said the video suggested that to be Shangaan was to be “less of a human being. We need to embrace each other. We need to accept each other. Ntuli must be taken to task,” he said.