Dis-Chem launched the “African beauty campaign” which came under fire for a blackface mannequin at its Killarney Mall branch in Johannesburg, prompting responses of Twitter users, SowetanLIVE reported.
A store display at the Killarney branch depicts a white mannequin with make-up on its face that appears to resemble blackface and it’s also dressed in African-print clothing and traditional sandals.
The rest of the display included a hut, a reed mat and an assortment of calabashes.
Killarney Mall’s Dis-Chem manager Jan Opperman said that the company’s head office instructed them to push “African beauty campaign”.
“Every year we have a different ones [themes] sent to us from head office. We all have to do it differently,” says Opperman.
Opperman says a staff member from his store put the display together.
Dis-Chem’s marketing operations coordinator, Obakeng Modubu, said the company knew nothing of the “African beauty campaign” run by the Killarney branch.
Modubu said that the only campaign sent out to all stores is titled the “beauty fair” and that advertising has to be consistent.
“We have the same themes for all our stores nationally, as well as the ones in Namibia and Botswana. It is very important that they all do the same thing as they are given the same directive from head office,” says Modubu.
Modubu said the beauty fair campaign included artwork with a directive featuring a series of decorative dots on their pamphlets and social media campaigns.
She said mannequins were not permitted in any Dis-Chem store and was surprised that the Killarney Mall branch used it.
“We know nothing about this. We never use mannequins in store and we will be looking into it. I have forwarded the issue to head office,” she says.
According to Jacaranda News, Dischem says it is aware of the ‘blackface mannequin’ at one of its stores in Johannesburg.
“We are aware of this and are busy handling it. A response will be sent out in the next few minutes.”
Dischem has this installation up at their Killarney store. Apparently it's part of their "African beauty campaign". What's going on here? Why is this happening? pic.twitter.com/j3xsJ4qGEk
— Thembalethu (@T_Lethu) February 21, 2020
Y’all cancelling Dischem?? pic.twitter.com/E9FaRZinrv
— Champlito (@Captain_Champu) February 21, 2020
What kind of half ass, lazy racism is Dischem displaying hear??? ???????????? https://t.co/90V5DovZDB
— Keitu the Leviathan (@KeituLeviathan) February 21, 2020
Wait what!!! @Dischem used a WHITE mannequin and black faced it to promote an African Beauty campaign.
Make me numb Nelson ???? https://t.co/7hcAiUoKKh
— Adore Mbete (@aadore_m) February 21, 2020
Dischem wanted the outrage! I can’t seem to think otherwise; not with so many other viable marketing options out there.
The powers that be can’t claim that that’s their understanding/ interpretation of African Beauty.
— human. being. (@ish_being) February 21, 2020