Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Botswana in a black hair protest blonde moment?

Botswana decision to join the hair protest raised by an offending racial purity online advertisement demeaning blacks in South Africa may turn out to be a blonde moment.

Indications are that while South Africa’s black hair product investors stand to make millions from the protest, their Botswana counterparts may be brushed off.

This follows a recent uproar in South Africa over the controversial advert which features pictures of African hair depicted as “frizzy and dull”, “dry and damaged” in an online advert ostensibly flighted on behalf of Clicks chain stores while portraying white hair as fine and normal.

South Africa’s largely youth and militant opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters took issue with the offending advert and targeted several Clicks outlets in that country threatening them with closure before a truce was reached on the eve of the weekend.

Locally, Clicks stores have since followed suit and pulled down TRESemmé products off their shelves in a seemingly solidarity protest with our neighbour to the south.

The advert for TRESemmé products featured by pharmacy chain store Clicks, portrayed blonde hair as “normal”, “fine and flat” implying that of blacks as inferior.

“We recently visited one of the stores in Botswana at Game City mall and found no trace of the products on the shelves. The shop manager confirmed that indeed they had taken down the products from the shelves but could not be drawn into discussing any further questions and referred us to the Country Area manager,” reporter Mmapula Molapong told the editors.

Clicks South Africa issued a statement saying it will remove all TRESemmé products from its shelf and replace it with locally sourced hair care brands.

In South Africa they already have a wide range of locally sourced hair care products but it is still unclear if the same can be said for Botswana.

We have since asked Clicks Botswana if they have sourced locally made products from Botswana by Batswana together with a series of other related questions but the public relations team which is said to be based in South Africa had not responded to our questionnaire by the time we went to print.

Some major retail shops like Woolworths say they have also removed TRESemmé products from their shelves.

The advert that led to the suspension of some of Clicks employees also drew the attention of South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which led to pretests and party leadership and members calling the hair advert “racist” and “dehumanising”.

TRESemmé, an American brand of hair care products, has also apologized for the advert.

Clicks, an originally South African chain store, has some outlets across southern Africa in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.


Read this week's paper