SAWLA outraged at controversial Clicks advert

September 17th, 2020
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By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) have expressed their outrage at retail store, Clicks, after an advert was published labelling a Black woman’s hair as ‘dry and damaged’ while the image of a White woman’s hair was labelled as ‘fine and flat’. SAWLA National Executive Committee General Secretary, Mpho Kgabi, said ‘[t]heir conduct could have not come at the worst time in September when we are celebrating our heritage and teaching a girl child to embrace the beauty of their natural hair. We are of course the biggest clientele of the health and beauty retailers as women and Clicks should easily realise this not to perpetuate inequality or discrimination against women, especially black women.’

Ms Kgabi added that South Africa (SA) is still in the process of healing, 26 years into democracy, and failure to decisively deal with any form of human rights violations borders on the line of rendering SA’s democracy a mockery. She said that while the retail giant has apologised for their conduct, SAWLA is of the view that their insensitive and offensive advertisement constitutes a serious human rights violation and must, therefore, be corrected through a legal process to send a strong message to all those who may commit a similar offence in the future. ‘Otherwise would-be offenders can use their apology as an excuse to be absolved of taking responsibility,’ continued Ms Kgabi.

SAWLA pointed out that Clicks should take remedial action measures. The proposed remedial action measures given by SAWLA were as follows –

  • integrate the constitutional values of equality and dignity in their organisational culture programmes across all their stores;
  • root out any untransformed elements in their marketing departments or divisions including advertising agencies; and
  • fund and support all social interventions aimed at building the esteem, dignity and self-concept of the black SA girl child.

SAWLA said that it is committed to making SA safe for all who live in it and will, therefore, take this matter up.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.