Thuli Madonsela on Clicks furore: 'Are we going to have people die over hair?'

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says there are other ways to register concern about an advertisement deemed demeaning to black hair other than protests.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says there are other ways to register concern about an advertisement deemed demeaning to black hair other than protests.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says anarchy and violence in response to the Clicks hair advert is undermining the cause of those who are protesting.

Clicks said on Monday that protest action by the EFF had happened at 37 stores across KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape. Seven stores were damaged.

EFF leader Julius Malema said on Monday the party would shut down Clicks stores across the country for the week.

Madonsela said politicians in parliament should use the constitution to address the problem, instead of endangering the economy, which she added was in the “emergency room”.

She said when politicians took action, they had a duty to think about the implications of it for the nation.

“Politicians in parliament have avenues to address this issue. They could have called Clicks management to explain. I just think the action smacks of being more of political desperation than about black woman's hair,” said Madonsela.

She said the most cerebral response to the advertisement she had seen so far was a video by young black women, which she read as a call to Clicks and others to examine their perceptions of black hair and black women’s beauty.

“I consider the action to be #Epicleadership and cerebral,” she said in a tweet.

Madonsela said protest was the language of the unheard and violence was the language of the disempowered.

There could be violence associated with protest over the advertisement, she said.

“Are we going to have people die possibly over hair? Also, logically Clicks is a trading company. Nobody could suggest Clicks is going out of its way to insult its customers,” she said.

She added that in other societies where black people felt undermined by a company, they did not protest but instead boycotted the company and created their own brands.

TimesLIVE


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