Durban - Former eThekwini speaker Logie Naidoo has apologised to the Hindu community after a video of him mentioning he would break his Purtassi fast by eating a beef burger went viral.
He was filmed at a Steers outlet in Mount Edgecombe last week by members of the Facebook group Dala U Crew (DUC). They intended to film a promotional video for the eatery, but allegedly uploaded a clip of Naidoo on the sidelines.
During the month-long Purtassi fast, devotees abstain from eating meat, and eating beef is forbidden because the cow is considered sacred.
Referring to a recently released sex video on the social media platform Naidoo said: “Hi there, guys. How you’ll doing today? Hope you’ll keeping up the fast Pitr Paksh, Purtassi and you’ll not watching porn videos and all.”
This evoked laughter.
He added: “They told me you’ll Dala U Crew is the biggest bunch of m****rs. Today I get to break my fast. I won’t tell my vrou. All in (a) day’s work. You know I have to chow this beef burger. I am doing it for the ad and you know what I mean.”
Naidoo said God would forgive him.
“I’m chowing this beef burger, firstly, as a Hindu, (I’m) not supposed to chow this beef. Secondly, it (is) Purtassi month but what the f***.”
There was a mixed reaction to the video among Facebook users - most were offended and others laughed it off.
Ashwin Trikamjee, the president of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, condemned it.
“It’s an act of blasphemy. The Sabha, together with the South African Tamil Federation, have called on the individual to unreservedly apologise to Hindus and to retract the video forthwith.
“You cannot impinge on the sensitivities of belief among people.”
Mervyn Reddy, the federation’s secretary, said they would not tolerate blasphemous outbursts by any individual who tarnished the Hindu religion, culture and language.
Professor Brij Maharaj, the president of the Shree Sanathan Dharma Sabha of South Africa, said there was a difference between using humour to illustrate important religious principles and mockery.
“This is an auspicious period for all Hindus, across the ideological and linguistic spectrum. Devout Hindus abstain from consuming meat and alcohol during this Navaratri-Purtassi period. All forms of religious intolerance and hate speech must be condemned.”
In Naidoo’s apology to the Sabha on Monday, he said the video would be edited and released as a commercial for Steers in Mount Edgecombe.
He said the interview was done on the sidelines “on a light-hearted basis” and he was, therefore, unaware it was for public consumption.
Naidoo said the digital online platform Indian Spice, which speaks to a predominantly Indian audience, re-edited the video “to stir up controversy”.
He was a staunch Hindu and did not eat beef or pork “and I observe the full months fast during Pratassi (stet)”.
Naidoo said that when the video was released, viewers would notice him eating a veggie burger.
“I will remain true to my faith and hope that inspires others in particular our youth I respect all views and publicly apologise for any insensitive comments made, and retract all statements that were offensive I did not intend to disparage my religion or any religious observance.”
Indian Spice said what it posted was the original.
“We are not the ones in front of the camera trivialising religious references in the same breath as porn videos. If there is anyone to blame for the PR nightmare that Logie Naidoo is experiencing, it is Dala-U-Crew that must account for this not Indian Spice.”
The DUC declined to comment.
The promotional video by the DUC, featuring Logie Naidoo and comedian Masood Boomgaard, was uploaded to its Facebook page on Tuesday.