June 18, 2024

South African designer issues apology for ‘rope ties’ that favor nooses

Daniel Ngobeni, a fashion designer based out of South Africa, has issued an apology after his recent design of rope ties that resemble nooses generated backlash from social media users.

The line, known as Daniels Rope Ties, caused shock and outrage as the promotional photos feature Black male models sporting the ties around their necks, Black Enterprise reports.

Nooses have a long and dark history, as they were used to hang Black men and women during slavery and Jim Crow. Even today, hate groups and racists continue to hang nooses on trees and in other areas as a way to intimidate and scare Black people.

Daniel Rope Ties thegrio.com
(Credit: Facebook)

Ngobeni was accused of being tone-deaf to the symbolism of a noose. He says African Americans are more sensitive about the line given their history.

“The rope tie are my work and the motive is to change the past act and the mindset that when people see a rope all they think is suicidal or lynching,” he said on Facebook. “I know the history and I’m not here to offend any family been a victim in the days. (sic) We need to change that the rope is not only used to take people’s lives but also something good can come out of the same object (rope).”

Ngobeni notes that several media outlets have reached out to him regarding the controversy. Still, he has no intention of changing his design. 

In a separate Facebook post, he says he won’t be coerced into changing the design or recalling the rope ties altogether.

“Not shaken nor MOVED, Daniels Rope Ties is the South African brand and I’m happy with the support I get here in my own country,” he wrote. “If this idea came from USA I  don’t think they would have been this angry, because they Want to dominate the world.”

Daniel Ngobeni Daniels Rope Ties thegrio.com
Daniel Ngobeni (Credit: Facebook)

His followers aren’t moved either, with one commenting on his perceived ignorance, writing, “I cannot take you serious as a person. It would be even worse if this idea did come from the US. And here is another thing. You cannot change the past. It is literally impossible.”

The 26-year-old designer insists his intentions are good and was more apologetic in another interview.

“I would like to extend my apologies to my Black brothers and sisters in America,” he told Blavity. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I am sorry to people who see this as something bad.”

He created the line, sold exclusively in South Africa, in 2018. For him, it’s about creativity, innovation, and changing the narrative.

“I thought, what is something new, that has never been done in fashion,” he told Blavity. “I asked myself, ‘Can the same rope that has been used to take someone’s life, can it be used for a better purpose?’” he explained. “Can the same object be used in a different way?’ So I thought of the tie.”

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