As we have all come to learn, the health and beauty retailer, Clicks, has come under the national spotlight. Following the release of an advert on its website which went viral on Friday, September 4, which according to the EFF is racist.
The advert sparked outrage within the EFF as it included photographs of four women, two black and two white, describing the hair of the black women as dry and damaged, whereas the hair of the white women as fine, flat and normal.
Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder has since apologised profusely, stating, “As Group CEO of Clicks, I am deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website. I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and anger these images have caused.”
Furthermore, he said the emotive responses of their customers have been mirrored by their employees and management teams.
“And, whilst the images and content were provided to us by our supplier TRESemmé, this does not absolve us from blame. This is why; we took accountability for this error of judgment by issuing a public apology and swiftly removing the offensive material from our website.”
However, despite his apology, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have taken on the cause of protesting outside Clicks stores across the nation. In a statement issued by the EFF, the political party calls for the closure of all Clicks Stores in light of their “unrepentant and perverse racism.”
Stating that Clicks participated in the dehumanising of black people through the advert, which they feel makes it seem that blacks are inferior to whites, which is a matter of deep concern.
As the EFF drives for the closure of Clicks stores due “unrepentant and perverse racism”, one needs to keep the following in mind: Clicks is a major company boasting 93% black employment and the person ultimately responsible for the advert would have been their Marketing Director, Veli Mabena.
With EFF supporters embarking in protest against Clicks, seeing their retail stores in Newcastle not escaping the attention.
This morning, 8 September 2020, EFF supporters gathered outside the Clicks Store at Newcastle Mall.
“They were initially quiet, simply singing, before things quickly escalated,” said a member of staff from a nearby store. According to the staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the controversy around the situation, things escalated when the EFF supporters attempted to close the store.
“When Clicks refused to close, they attempted to put a chain around the door, which the police removed.”
It was then that the EFF supporters were escorted off the premises.
One of the EFF members said, “The police arrested some of our members and went as far as to use pepper spray on us because we are fighting against the system and racism.”
Once escorted out of the mall by the police, the EFF supporters continued to stand in the heat, refusing to be intimidated by the watchful eye of the SAPS. However, they eventually dispersed but threaten, they would most likely return. “We are not going anywhere,” was the departing words of one EFF supporter.
Following this aggressive and chaotic incident, Clicks management at Newcastle Mall declined to comment on the situation.
As the protests are expected to continue throughout the week, the Gauteng High Court has since granted Clicks an interdict against the EFF. According to the interdict, the EFF may not intimidate or threaten any staff member or customer.
With Clicks now under the spotlight, what are your thoughts on the situation? Do you feel the EFF is justified in feeling offended by the advert? Or do you feel the protest action is an overreaction?
Share your views and thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer