The popular Danish amusement park Djurs Sommerland (DS) has found itself in hot water after being accused of having rides that are considered offensive and demeaning to black people.
Josef W Nielsen, the head of the African Empowerment Center Denmark, has started a petition along with the anti-racism organisation Everyday Racism Project DK to pressure DS into scrapping its two rides ‘Hottentot Carousel’ and ‘Cannibal Pots’.
The two rides are both in the ‘Africa Land’ area of the park. ‘Hottentot Carousel’ depicts an over-exaggerated caricature of an African warrior with earrings and a bone in his hair, while on ‘Cannibal Pots’, which is decorated with Zulu-looking shields and spears, riders are carried in ‘boiling pots’.
“Imagine that Djurs Sommerland made a ‘Jew park’ with some Jews wearing the clothes they were wearing in the concentration camps while the carousel went around them. That wouldn’t be considered okay,” Nielsen told Metroxpress newspaper.
“I can understand why there are some Danes who don’t feel the way we with an African background do. But we have to answer questions from our children, such as whether there are any cannibals in our family. It’s not about my reaction, but about human rights.”
DS looking into issue
Nielsen, whose mother is from Tanzania, hopes the amusement park removes the offensive rides and changes the name to something more appropriate, such as ‘Safari Land’.
DS are surprised by the criticism of ‘Africa Land’ – which has existed since 1993 – and will look into the situation, the CEO of the park Henrik B Nielsen revealed.
“We have no intention of offending anyone and of course apologise,” Nielsen said.
“It’s not something we’ve experienced before. We are here to please our guests, not to offend them.”