'Shangaan Jesus not funny'
Outrage over a cartoon animation making fun of Shangaans and the Christian faith has led to a complaint being lodged with the Human Rights Commission.
A Pretoria resident has complained about a cartoon animation she says is offensive to Shangaan-speakers and Christians.
Caroline Sithole, 32, has asked the commission to investigate whether the cartoon animation, called "Jesus is Shangaan", is discriminatory.
Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party , was also not amused. He criticised the animation, saying it was offensive .
The two-minute animation, created by Johannesburg company Mdu Comics, depicts a "black Jesus" attempting to commit suicide after his doctor "diagnoses" him as a Shangaan.
In the clip, which has had 49000 hits on YouTube, "Jesus", who speaks Zulu, consults a doctor after breaking his toe. After a DNA test, the doctor says: "Jesus, there is no easy way of telling you this ... You are Shangaan."
The character then scrubs himself with bags of oranges to rid himself of his "shangaan-ness" before leaving a suicide note.
Commission spokesman Vincent Moaga confirmed a complaint had been lodged and that it was being assessed to determine prima facie violation of human rights.
In her complaint, Sithole said the animation had opened up old wounds of growing up being discriminated against because she was Shangaan.
"The [animation] came from a colleague and friend who said: 'I am happy you will be Zulu soon', referring to the fact that I will be getting married to a Zulu man.
"Well, it is sad that in this democratic South Africa you still have people who really believe Zulus or other tribes are more superior than Shangaans and that Shangaans are non-human or sub-human," Sithole wrote in her complaint.
She said the animation carried many upsetting stereotypes.
"No wonder my son refuses to be Shangaan. I grew up being ridiculed by schoolmates for being Shangaan and I was not sure where this hatred was coming from.
"This has caused a lot of pain for me ... I hated going to school because 'I was Shangaan'. I will not be ridiculed again in ademocratic South Africa because of people like Mdu Ntuli, who think they are a better race than others and perpetuate these stereotypes."
Meshoe said the animation denigrated the Christian faith and appears to be ethnically divisive.
Mdu Comics founder Mdu Ntuli denied the cartoon was offensive.
"It is purely fictional . Every nationality has a joke on each other and that's just how it is. For me, it is just ridiculous for any Tsonga person to take this personally," Ntuli said.