SACCAWU has noted, rather with shock, disbelief and utter disgust the manner in which Clicks has selected to pursue marketing its goods and services, manifesting in unprovoked and irresponsible acts of racism thus cause irreparable harm to people of colour at the pedestal of appeasing and glorifying the white market base. The advert that profiles and defines African hair in many negative terms against Caucasian hair which they define and profile as “normal” is nothing but anti-black sentiment and open racism, which does not have a place in our Society. The fact that the advert also depicts Black African women in a manner that is as distasteful as the advert in question, is in fact the entrenchment of the multifold discrimination that black African women are subjected thus undermining all efforts and struggles wages in that regard. We can not help but wonder whether Clicks is willfully driving the gender-based violence, especially against black African women with this sorry excuse for an advert.
This kind of racist attitude from a company which employs majority of blacks is not only despicable but downright arrogant and disrespectful of the very people who generate their profits through rendering service as workers and sourcing goods and services as customers. It is ironic that the same profits generated by the ever-toiling black workers are used to mock, ridicule and insult not only the black workers but the entire black population, which represent the majority in this Country. It is not a coincidence of history that this kind of conduct comes to the fore and the advert must not be seen as a random act in which there is a genuine error of judgment. In fact this racist advert must be located at the centre of the company’s lack of transformation and refusal to embrace equality, which is why we have had running disputes around lack of transformation and every time Clicks would play a victim. The fact that the products being advertised are TRESemmé, an American-based company makes it even more interesting given the everyday instances of racial inequality, injustice and prejudice of blacks.
The lackluster apology tweeted by Clicks declares that: “We know we need to do better …” yet notwithstanding such knowledge they went on to embrace an advert that openly declares natural black African hair as not being normal. Another tweet states: “We do not condone racism and we are strong advocates of natural hair”. Clearly the natural hair referred to in this tweet is not black African hair, which has been profiled by Clicks to be Dry, Damaged, Frizzy & Dull, thus very far from the alleged “advocacy for natural hair”! This is an insult to the collective intelligence of black people in this Country and entrenchment of the mentality of white superiority over blacks
We declare that a mere apology cannot undo the damage done, unless it is accompanied by Clicks’ concrete action.
We thus demand that Clicks takes such action and dismiss any person or institution associated with the advert (including the advertising/marketing agent, if any), its approval as well as those responsible for the approval and management of their website content. Although such action will not undo the harm visited upon the black majority, it will go a long way to demonstrate that Clicks is indeed sorry and will not tolerate any behaviour that goes against their values.
We will be watching the space!!!
Issued by the SACCAWU Secretariat:
11 Leyds Street
For any further enquiries or clarity, kindly contact:
Mduduzi Mbongwe – Dep. General Secretary: 082 336 5146
Khulekani Ngubane – Head of Organising, Campaigns & Collective Bargaining: 082 336 5448
Lucas Ramatlhodi – Secretariat Coordinator: 082 336 5325