President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his Heritage Day message to warn companies against displaying advertisements that could send negative stereotypical messages.

This follows a recent controversy over an online ad by retail giant, Clicks which showed images of black women’s hair being described as frizzy, dry and damaged and a white woman’s hair as fine, flat and normal.

Speaking in a virtual 2020 National Heritage Day keynote address, Ramaphosa has called on firms to be mindful of people of all races and cultures.

Ramaphosa says, “We must stand firm against attempts to disrespect our country’s women through crude forms of representation in the media, advertising and popular culture. The offensive hair advert that was recently published shows that we still have a long way to go. It is disheartening to see in this democratic SA, there are still crude stereotypes of black women being put on public display. The social coercion we seek in this country means we must be mindful of the legacy of our past.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa virtually addresses 2020 Heritage Day

 

Meanwhile Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on South Africans to play an active role in preserving their heritage.

This as South Africa celebrates Heritage Month dedicated to living human treasures that include Dr Esther Mahlangu, Mama Madosini Latozi Mpahleni and Mama Ouma Katrina Esau.

As part of the celebrations and in their honour, three books that acknowledge the contribution of these three great women to nation-building have been launched.

Mthethwa says, “Our heritage is very broad. One of the important ones is the culture of resistance and liberation. So, you can’t talk of heritage outside of those. Here are a people who experienced colonialism and apartheid and so on, but they kept together, something kept them together.

Minister for Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa on Heritage Day

Government condemns racist Clicks ad, vandalising of stores

The South African government earlier said  it was disturbed by the crude racist display of the Clicks hair advertisement, but also said acts of lawlessness in the vandalising and torching of Clicks stores are concerning and go against the country’s spirit of peace and respect for human rights.

The online ad portrayed black people’s hair negatively compared to the hair of white people.

Clicks slammed for offensive advert regarding black women’s hair