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Inappropriate naming of new Joburg restaurant leaves social media users seething

Opening a restaurant any time soon? You may want to think long and hard about what you're going to call it.

by: Tessa Purdon | 15 Nov 2017

A new 'Asian' style restaurant in Joburg's Melville suburb has come under fire on social media for branding the establishment with one of the most inappropriate names ever. 

Internet users have been in an uproar since the restaurant's Twitter post last night stating, “don’t you love the name?”. 

We are struggling to fathom how the owners of this establishment thought it was OK (on any level) to call their restaurant something so vile, and then expect to have customers. 

Food24 spoke to Local food and culture journalist, Ishay Govender-Ypma who says, "names, like words, matter and in this case two glaring things are brought to our attention - the lack of cultural sensitivity and the lack of research or a laziness that is condoned somehow. The name Misohawni is derived from a derogatory reference to Vietnamese prostitutes, as shown in the cult movie Full Metal Jacket

The owners may find it funny but a community - local and international - of Asians and allies have pleaded and explained why it shouldn't be used. The days of the Weinstein-type character in power, the men who degrade women and question if they have a sense of humour if they raise their voices, and who profit off sexism and the blatant exploitation of cultures, are over.

In South Africa, we have come to our senses and to actively participate in the protest of these issues, later than most nations. Blame the doctrine of "rainbowism". A team had to approve Misohawni - from concept to design and that tells us all we need to know about decision makers in this country. It also speaks broadly of appropriating culture (it's a mish-mash of Asian and Polynesian food, I believe) for profit with no consideration for the welfare of the people from whom we take the ideas. The owners would do well to reconsider and give the public who've worked hard here to introduce sense, a sincere apology."

Ming-Cheau Lin, a Taiwanese-born South African who grew up in Bloemfontein says, "here's another element to the fuckery... that the way 'misohawni' is made out is to mock broken English of Asians who speak English as a third or fourth language". 

Twitter users across SA have taken to the platform to express their disgust.

What are your thoughts? SHARE them with us in the comments below. 

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