- The South African Human Rights Commission has summoned Clicks, and all other companies, involved to a meeting
- The SAHRC has taken an extremely dim view of the advert at the centre of so much chaos
- The institution says the remarks on African hair are part of historic pain facing black women
The South African Human Rights Commission has stepped into the arena and summoned Clicks to a meeting over its controversial ad.
In a letter sent to the individuals involved in the scandal, the SAHRC says that it has seen the apology issued by the company, claiming that the images had been supplied by TREsemme but admitting that it had failed to apply control measures.
Commenting on the hype surrounding the images, the SAHRC says that the ad doesn't promote stereotypes, it asserts them:
"The Advert does not promote racist stereotypes about the hair of Black people, it asserts and perpetuates this racist stereotype and obviously and unfairly discriminates against Black people and Black women and girls, in particular."
The institution acknowledged that this issue is a sensitive topic for many black women:
"Hair has for years been a site of harm and hurt for Black women and girls. It carries with it a history of trauma. During apartheid hair, and the infamous “pencil test” was used by the Race Classification Board to arbitrarily decide whether someone was Coloured or Black or White.
The letter continued by saying that this issue is not specifically a South African one, but a global one:
The world over, people have been socialised into believing that the ideal version of proper and beautiful women were the white Western women with straight flowing hair. This socialisation has had damaging effects on the self-worth of Black girls and women."
The advert, deliberate or not, has set this struggle for equality and self-worth back continued the SAHRC:
"The Advert and the inaction, unconsciousness or indifference of Clicks and TREsemme / Unilever South Africa obstructs and even dismantles the work done towards the realisation of equality for all and the Constitutional project more generally."
The entity concluded that an apology is simply not going to undo the damage done by the incident:
"This unconsciousness failure to apply adequate control measures or not knowing how these things happen has occurred far too often in South Africa and an apology is not going to get us or persons and entities responsible for the publication of the Advert and the harm it has caused or the derogatory ideas it represents, into a space or frame of mind or understanding where it does not happen again (even behind closed doors where no-one is watching)."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the EFF has embarked on national protests against Clicks in response to the incident.
The political party welcomed a court decision to dismiss the company's attempts to halt these protests, with costs on Monday.
The EFF remains committed to continuing these protests until Clicks meets their demands which included firing all parties involved in the production and distribution of the ad.
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