If the EFF was a soccer fan club, their hooligans would burn stadiums to the ground.
That’s all they’re good for, disrupting and destroying.
The party has been at the forefront of a nationwide protest against Clicks and their racist hair adverts.
In a marketing campaign for TRESemmé products, they posted pictures of afro hair and labelled it “dry, dull and damaged”, compared with images of straight blonde hair, which was labelled “normal” and “fine and flat”.
The result: a shutdown of 425 Clicks stores countrywide this week, with some branches reporting damage and looting during the protests.
Ten protesters, including an EFF MP, have been arrested for destruction of property.
Why? EFF regional chairperson Moafrika Mabogwana explained their strategy: “We will keep it like this until Friday.
“We are not overreacting to this issue; we simply can’t keep letting companies undermine black people, and the practical way to do this is to make them feel the consequences by making sure they lose profit.”
Make sense to you?
The party was not satisfied with Clicks or TRESemmé’s apologies.
It wasn’t enough either that a senior Clicks executive resigned and other employees implicated have been suspended pending the outcome of an independent investigation.
Even delisting TRESemmé products from its stores didn’t placate the red berets.
In the end, Clicks conceded the ad was racist, a truce was declared and the protest was called off on Thursday.
Many feel however it was all much a-hairdo about nothing.
Why get so worked up by hair ads at a time when the country is
trying to survive a pandemic?
Why not spend the same time and effort on fighting corruption, and demanding accountability in how government’s R500 billion in Covid-19 relief fund is being managed?
And the biggest challenge of all: how to resurrect the economy and create jobs.
Immediately, it’s clear that you don’t grow an economy by shutting 425 shops nationwide!
Why call yourselves Economic Freedom Fighters? Change the name to Racist Hair Ad Fighters instead.
Apart from wrecking stores, the other pity was that the EFF has ruined a good opportunity to address what is actually a real issue.
Let’s look at the accusations levelled at Clicks.
Is their staff really racist, and is their intention to discriminate?
Do they have executive meetings where they brainstorm ways to offend black people?
No. They’re a business, and like most businesses, their aim is to attract customers, sell products and make profits.
Still, it is clear from the ads that there is a kind of racism at play.
Except Clicks isn’t to blame, they are not responsible for having set the beauty standards.
Make no mistake, these standards most certainly exist, and are applied consciously and unconsciously in the media.
We live in a society where white women’s natural hair is described with positive adjectives like: straight, fine, shiny and NORMAL.
Black and coloured women’s natural hair on the other hand is described with negative words like: dry, damaged, bushy, stubborn, unmanageable.
The reason why people are angry at Clicks is because their ads perpetuate the old beauty standard that white is beautiful, and black is not.
This in an African country, and in the year 2020!
On a superficial level, the issue may seem like nothing more than follicles on scalp; or a choice of hair product, weave, wig or braids.
But it runs deeper than that.
For another perspective, let’s flip the script for a minute and imagine that society viewed black hair as the standard of beauty.
A white girl grows up watching TV, reading magazines and Clicks catalogues, wishing her hair was “beautifully frizzy, full-bodied and vibrant”. (Note the positive adjectives)
Her own hair is described by the media as “flat, weak, lifeless”.
The tables have turned, so being called a “platkop” is as bad as being called a “kroeskop”.
She feels inadequate, ugly and even embarrassed by her identity.
She works hard to alter her appearance, and her parents spend money on perms and wigs to get her natural white hair to look black.
Horrible, isn’t it?
Clicks and other organisations should consider these standards when giving their teams “diversity training”.