The SA Human Rights Commission wants to meet Clicks officials to get a better understanding into the health and beauty retailer’s publication of an advertisement on its website that appeared to demean African hair.
The advertisement, which ran on its website last week, showed a black woman’s hair and described it as being “dry, damaged, frizzy and dull” against that of a white woman’s hair, which is described as “colour-treated, fine, flat and normal”. The advert caused huge outrage with the EFF on Monday taking action against Clicks by shutting down several of its branches across the country.
The SAHRC said it had since launched its “own-initiative investigation” into this matter.
“The commission has further written a letter to and called for a meeting with Clicks, for the retail store to explain itself concerning the content of the advert,” the SAHRC said.
It said it had also noted Clicks apology, disappointment and action following the incident but wants to know how the company will ensure it never happens again.
Members of the EFF, led by deputy president Floyd Shivambu, protested outside the Clicks retail store in Sandton City as part of a nationwide protest on September 7 2020. This comes after the retail group released a TRESemmé advert on its website that has been condemned by the EFF as racist. Meanwhile, police are investigating several incidents across the country where stores were vandalised.
“The commission remains committed to understanding measures taken by Clicks to guard against such adverts in the future and other accountability and sensitivity measures the company intends to take going forward,” it said.
Meanwhile, as the EFF has vowed to disrupt operations at Clicks outlets for the entire week, the SAHRC has called on them to be responsible in their action.
“The commission supports the right to protest as envisaged in section 17 of the constitution, and calls for South Africans to exercise this right in a peaceful manner,” it said.
At least 37 Clicks stores were affected by Monday’s protest action. On Tuesday, police said they had arrested five people in connection with the destruction which occurred at an Alberton branch.