Following the controversial Clicks advert which many deemed “racist and offensive” earlier this week, the retailer issued an apology and the brand’s CEO penned a lengthy open letter about plans to “make amends.”
However, these gestures have not satisfied the Minister for Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
The advert in question described Afro hair as “dry & damaged” while the caption along a picture of white hair was more flattering, describing it as “normal.”
Clicks apologised: “We have removed the images, which go against everything we believe in. We are strong advocates of natural hair and are deeply sorry we have offended our natural hair community.”
Letter of apology from CEO
As a follow-up to the apology, Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder wrote a remorseful open letter explaining how the group planned to self-correct.
“Already, the negligent employees have been suspended, and we have engaged the supplier, who has now also issued an apology,” said Ramsunder. The supplier is TRESemme.
But these efforts did not appease the minister.
In a scathing statement, the ministry said: “The Minister for Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni rejects the apology by the management of the retail store Clicks as meaningless.”
“Clicks misses the point that the offense is not only about the images that are insensitive but the fact that it represents the views of TRESemme that are racist and reflects the continued undermining of the beauty of African women and the violence they suffer when they are deemed not meeting certain superficial standards.”
Ntshavheni said: “If Clicks management is serious about being ‘a proudly South African corporate citizen’ and want to make amends for its ‘error’, it must be reflected by steps to place more hair products made by South African SMMEs for African hair on its shelves.”
She concluded: “Any claim of non-racialism that is devoid of impactful economic transformation actions cannot [be] acceptable.”
Meanwhile, protest action by EFF members continues across the country. The party intends to keep Clicks stores out of business throughout this week. On Monday, the red berets embarked on a shutdown campaign which saw incidents of vandalism and violence flare up in some stores.