National 4.8.2016 11:46 am

Inked for a good cause: fighting racism

Monique Mthembu is one of the 150 recipients of a free tattoo of the African continent  by Candi McLaren Lewis to fight racism.

Monique Mthembu is one of the 150 recipients of a free tattoo of the African continent by Candi McLaren Lewis to fight racism.

A tattoo artist spreads love at the Fourways Farmer’s Market through doing free tattoos.

A South African tattoo artist has found a novel way to fight racism, but be warned, it involves needles, Fourways Review reports.

Candi McLaren Lewis who worked as a contemporary artist for 20 years before becoming a tattoo artist has organised a campaign against racism with a twist.

Lewis offered anyone willing to stand up against racial discrimination a free 3cm by 3cm tattoo of the African continent.

“In South Africa recently, especially on social media, there’s been a lot of very negative things said regarding race, and it’s made me very angry,” Lewis explained.

“I organised this campaign because I want people to become committed to stop saying such terrible things. We as a country need to unite and speak out against hatred.”

An event in support of this initiative was hosted at the Fourways Farmer’s Market and throughout the day Lewis tattooed 150 of her supporters and passersby.

Some people showed up specifically to support Lewis in her efforts, such as Genna Azzie, who has had  a number of tattoos done by Lewis.

“I just think that the reason for this campaign is absolutely phenomenal,” Azzie explained. “We live in a different world from the one that I grew up in.”

Other participants did not know about the event but came across Lewis’ mobile tattoo studio during the course of the day as they wandered around the market.

“I just decided to do it now after seeing the stall because I think it’s cool,” explained TJ Mthembu. “I also believe that it’s for a great cause.”

Monique, Mthembu’s wife of two years, also had the tattoo done, as they have both been judged for being in a mixed racial marriage.

“Race is still an issue,” Monique said.

“Sometimes in public (TJ and I) will still get funny looks when people realise that we’re together. In all honesty, I feel sorry for them (the people who stare), it’s so stupid.”

– Caxton News Service

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