The businessman who designed a T-shirt with the catch-phrase “Dewani Tours – treat you wife to a killer holiday”, said it was meant as a dig at murder accused Shrien Dewani and not his slain wife Anni Hindocha.
Dinesh Dowlath, 39, said that while he was sorry for offending the Hindocha family, he would not pull the remaining stock from the shelves.
Dowlath, who owns a string of businesses in Durban, including clothing shop Drop Zone said the T-shirts were not meant to upset or humiliate the Hindocha family.
The back of the T-shirt reads: “Powered by Googlelethu South Africa”.
This, Dowlath said, was a play on words and not meant to offend the residents of Gugulethu, where the couple was hijacked during their honeymoon.
Mzwandile Zwane, who runs Liziwe’s Guest House in Gugulethu, said it was “shocking” for anyone to make light of the Dewani murder.
A product such as that would upset the people of Gugulethu and “open up old wounds”, he said.
“The murder affected our community deeply. All the good publicity that came with the 2010 World Cup was ruined. Overnight it went from tourists loving Gugulethu, to tourism black-out.
“People were too scared, and it was the community that looked bad at the end of the day. If (Shrien Dewani) is extradited, stands trial and is found guilty, he needs to come to the people of Gugulethu and apologise for the harm that he has caused.”
Dowlath said: “I understand the residents are upset with me and want me to meet with them. I am prepared to meet with a representative. I have done nothing wrong. They want to boycott my stores and stage protests. That’s a bit outrageous.”
Dowlath said he had a creative streak and put it to use in his clothing business.
“I come from a family of tailors. This type of thing just comes naturally to me. I opened my first store when I was 15 at the Wheel shopping centre. I have not looked back since.
“These T-shirts were printed about a year ago when the trial into Anni Hindocha’s murder began. Only 100 were printed and it was a hit with many people.
“I believe Shrien Dewani should come back to South Africa and state his case. He must not be a coward. This T-shirt just takes a cheap shot at him. He did not feel bad about bringing bad publicity to our country so why should I feel bad about offending him.”
He said he was a strong supporter of the Hindocha family and acknowledged their pain.
Dowlath said he would not be printing anymore of the T-shirts.
In March, Dewani’s extradition to SA was halted on mental health grounds.
Two judges in London ruled that it would be “unjust and oppressive” to order the removal of the British businessman, who is accused of arranging the contract killing of his wife Anni in Cape Town in November 2010 during their honeymoon.
Anni, 28, of Sweden, was shot dead when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in Gugulethu. She was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle in Khayelitsha with a bullet wound to her neck.
The taxi driver Zola Tongo, who drove the newlyweds through Gugulethu was later arrested and pleaded guilty to the crime. He is serving an 18 year sentence.
His co-accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni are expected to stand trial in the Cape Town High Court at the end of July.