ANCYL calls for boycott of TRESemmé hair products after 'racist' Clicks hair ad

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  • The ANC Youth League has weighed in on a racist TRESemmé hair advert which was published on the website of retail giant Clicks.
  • The league has called for an investigation into the checks and balances in the advertising industry.
  • It has also called for a boycott of all TRESemmé hair products.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has called on the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate the "checks and balances" in the South African advertising industry. 

In a statement, the ANCYL Crisis Committee said the commission must assess how a racist hair advert on Clicks' website was approved by the applicable regulatory body.

"Nature abhors a vacuum. In the absence of a credible youth leadership, we will take it upon ourselves to call on the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the racial violations caused by not only Clicks as the retail store responsible, but also the Unilever Group, to ensure they are held accountable for their unacceptable actions," the so-called "young lions" said.

READ | 'It's a third force' - EFF blames agent provocateurs for vandalism at Clicks stores

The hair advert depicted four women: two black and two white. It described the hair of the two black women as "dry and damaged" and "frizzy and dull", while the hair of the two white women was described as "fine and flat" and "normal".

Clicks has since apologised.

However, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni rejected the "superficial apology by Clicks management".

She said if Clicks' management was serious about making amends for the error then "it must be reflected by steps to place more hair products made by South African SMMEs for African hair on its shelves."

The ANCYL said the advert was a crude display of the subtle racism that has gone uncontested in the South African advertising industry for many years and that it should be rubbished by all and sundry.

"Racism and discrimination towards Africans in general, and African women in particular, must be confronted with the highest contempt it deserves. Black women continue to face tipple oppression based on their race, gender and class. The South African advertising industry must be taken to task [for] its portrayal of black women in their media products."

The league also called for a boycott of all TRESemmé hair products.

WRAP | EFF warns of week of protesting at Clicks stores, as govt calls for calm

"We also demand that all retail stores in the country remove Tresemmé hair products from their shelves until those responsible are held accountable," the ANCYL said. 

The league added that EFF protests that saw many Clicks stores close their doors on Monday were nothing more than a display of a "populist" stance, with no meaningful solutions that will forge a non-racial and inclusive society envisioned by the ANC.

"The EFF must be held accountable for their violent actions as the perpetuation of such breeds a lawless society."

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