The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has threatened to shut down all Clicks stores across the country from Monday if it continues operating.
The party has called for the closure of the health and lifestyle retailer’s stores for five days after it failed to meet its list of demands for corrective action over its controversial online advert.
On Friday, Clicks caused social media outrage after an image of a black woman’s hair was labelled ‘dry and damaged’ while the image of the hair of a white woman was labelled as ‘fine and flat.’
Clicks later removed the images and posted an apology, but the EFF says it is not convinced the apology is genuine.
Black women have also been flaunting their natural hair on social media, expressing pride in it.
One post reads: “Our hair is not dry, damaged, frizzy and dull. It’s called afro! It’s normal and beautiful too. We are proud of our hair textures and don’t need any validation from you. Lastly, you need a new marketing team which is not racist. Shame on you.”
Women in the streets of Johannesburg expressed similar views.
“Personally, I found it very offensive because it used adjectives that were lovely for the white people’s hair, and for our hair they used derogatory terms. So for me, that was very offensive.”
“I felt that it was very discriminatory because we’re in 2020; you can’t as a business be that ignorant about your dynamics. I mean this country is majority black.”
“I was really mad when I saw those ads, how can you view our hair like that? It’s very disrespectful and I can’t believe we’re having these chats in 2020.”
Clicks has since removed the images and apologised, but is that sufficient? Women expressed their views on the Clicks apology.
“They need to do more than just tweet an apology. I feel like they just did it because they had to. Clicks has a marketing team that does their advertising, how are they not sensitive and aware of such issues?”
“I’m no longer going to buy their products, an apology is not enough.”
“I feel like they should cut their prices 50% on all natural black hair products, so we can see that they’re sincere.”
“I don’t feel satisfied with their apology really. We’re so sick of fighting one thing over and over again.”
“I think the thing that they could do, apart from their generic apology, would be to add more black people in the marketing teams because if we boycott Clicks, then it means a lot of people will lose their jobs because in most stores at Clicks it’s mostly black people working there.”
‘Clicks to stop operating for 5 days’
The EFF says after writing to Clicks with its list of demands for corrective steps to be taken following the advert it describes as racist, the retailer did not respond favourably.
EFF spokesperson Delisiwe Ngwenya says they want Clicks to stop operating for at least five days.
“We, therefore, call on all Clicks branches to close and must only open on Saturday, 12 September 2020. This is because we’re of the view that they’re not genuine with their apology and the only way to make capitalists to apologise and feel genuine remorse is for them to lose money.”
Ngwenya says if Clicks does not comply, the party will descend on Clicks stores to help them shut down.
“Their response to our letter was nothing short of condescending and revealed a lack of remorse for their attack on the dignity of black people. If Clicks does not close, our members in all the branches will shut down all 880 Clicks outlets across the country from Monday, 7 September 2020 to Friday, 11 September 2020.”
In a statement, Clicks says it will continue trading despite the EFF’s threat and that contingency plans have been put in place to ensure the safety of both customers and staff.
It further says it has taken full accountability and apologised unreservedly for the advertisement published on its website and has taken immediate action to address all concerns.