Bassie wins battle over use of ‘low-quality’ photo

2011-06-25 17:22

Businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo has won a claim over an “unflattering” image that worried her so much she couldn’t sleep for 10 nights.

The image of Kumalo was used by sports shop Cycle Lab in its Cycling News brochure and in in-flight magazine abouTime without her consent.

Kumalo last year instituted a claim of R700?000 against Cycle Lab in the Joburg High Court (now South Gauteng High Court) for the alleged infringement of her dignity, privacy and identity.

She claimed that the photo was the least flattering one the public had seen of her. She was wearing jeans and hadn’t had time to put on her (Christian) Dior sunglasses before the camera flashed, the court heard.

She was trying on a bicycle helmet at the time.Kumalo feared that her friends and colleagues would see the “low-quality” photograph and assume that she had lowered her professional standards and image.

It cost her exactly 10 nights’ sleep, the court heard.Judge Phillip Boruchowitz has found that the ex-beauty queen rightly felt “abused and insulted” when she discovered that an image of her in everyday clothing and without make-up was used in an advertising campaign for the sports shop.

Boruchowitz dismissed Cycle Lab’s argument that they merely represented Kumalo as a “normal and healthy” South African doing her shopping.

Cycle Lab alleged that they had asked permission to take the photograph, but did not ask whether they could publish it. Kumalo’s name did not appear with the photo. Her claim of R250?000 for the losses she allegedly incurred as a result of the lowering of her commercial image was dismissed.

But her self-image was affected, the judge found.

The compensation to be paid by Cycle Lab for Kumalo’s successful claim – the infringement of her personal rights – is yet to be determined.

The cycling company also has to pay Kumalo’s legal fees.

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