It was bad make-up, not 'black face': Dis-Chem manager explains mannequin fail

27 February 2020 - 15:40 By Toni Jaye Singer
This mannequin was photographed in the Killarney Mall branch of Dis-Chem on February 21 2020.
This mannequin was photographed in the Killarney Mall branch of Dis-Chem on February 21 2020.
Image: Staff reporter

Photographs of a "black face" mannequin snapped in Dis-Chem's Killarney Mall, Johannesburg, branch sparked outrage on social media last Friday.

The white mannequin, which had been dressed in an African-print dress and had its face tinted with make-up, appeared as part of an “unauthorised” display promoting the brand's annual beauty fair.

This 'African-themed' display was photographed at the Dis-Chem store in Killarney Mall, Johannesburg, on February 21 2020.
This 'African-themed' display was photographed at the Dis-Chem store in Killarney Mall, Johannesburg, on February 21 2020.
Image: Staff reporter

Tarryl Moonsamy, store manager of Dis-Chem Killarney Mall, told 702's Eusebius McKaiser that the display, which also featured a rondeval and African kitchenware, was produced by an unnamed black woman staff member on her own initiative with the idea of creating an “African beauty fair” theme within the store.

Moonsamy said the woman had brought in the mannequin to use as a prop, clarifying that Dis-Chem did not use mannequins in its displays.

Moonsamy explained the mannequin's “bad make-up", saying, “the staff member ... wanted to embrace her own culture and she wanted to bring something about herself into the display, which definitely went wrong".

“The minute I saw it, I removed it because the make-up had been done so badly,” she said.

Moonsamy told McKaiser that she didn't accept that the display was "black face" because it was not intended to “make any mockery of anybody”.

“The whole term 'black face' and the meaning behind it is completely different to what actually happened."

Dis-Chem confirmed that mannequin was an “isolated incident” in an apology the brand posted on Twitter last week.

Listen to McKaiser's conversation with Moonsamy here


subscribe