In what appears to be yet another social media misstep by a big company on Women’s Day, Telkom released a message on its Twitter account this morning wishing women a happy Women’s Day, but the stock photo they chose probably didn’t even come from South Africa.
The image features two white woman, what could be a Chinese or other Asian model and someone who could pass for anything from Hispanic to (maybe) a South African coloured woman. What the image fails to take into account is that black women happen to be not only the largest group of women in South Africa – they are actually the largest single group in South Africa statistically.
The whole point of Women’s Day is that it commemorates a march to the Union Buildings 60 years ago to demand equal rights for black women and black people in general.
One can almost taste the irony, one social media user pointed out.
Leader of the EFF Julius Malema called it “misrepresentation”.
@TelkomZA and then this misrepresentation?
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) August 9, 2016
Another user commented that maybe there had been a black woman around but she was off making “tea for the madams”.
@TelkomZA I guess she's making tea for the madams…
— How I lost a Milli.. (@Royal_Boiketlo) August 9, 2016
Another tweeted a picture from the Women’s Day march in 1956. “You really could have used it!” the user said.
— A (@InsaneCreature) August 9, 2016
Telkom’s misstep has been trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons, and people have been asking for an apology.
Last year, stationery company Bic caused controversy for a Woman’s Day tweet in which it said: “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss #HappyWomensDay.”
That ended up making international headlines after wholesale outrage. The company had to issue a public apology.
Telkom also had to face criticism earlier this year for choosing to use Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to market one of its products despite the fact that South Africa has a world champion athlete of its own, who will be going for gold at the Olympics this month, Wayde van Niekerk.