Bassie Khumalo’s open letter to Clicks: 'Don’t touch our hair'

13 September 2020 - 14:00 By Deepika Naidoo
TV personality, former Miss SA, philanthropist and businesswoman Basetsana ‘Bassie’ Kumalo.
TV personality, former Miss SA, philanthropist and businesswoman Basetsana ‘Bassie’ Kumalo.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo

Former pageant winner and businesswoman Basetsana “Bassie” Kumalo has written an open letter to Clicks, slamming the retailer and TRESemmé, whose advert sparked outrage across the country this week.

Many of our fav celebrities slammed the health and beauty retail chain for an ad which described African hair as dry and damaged, but white hair as “fine and flat”.

Bassie was among them,  sharing her disappointment on the matter.

The star took to Instagram to post a video of herself addressing the retailer, TRESemmé and its parent company Unilever.

“Excuse me Clicks, TRESemmé and Unilever. Do care to explain this: as a mother of a beautiful African child and daughter of the African soil how dare you describe our crowns as dry, brittle and damaged!?,” asked Bassie.

She further asked Clicks if the company thought its big blunder would be ignored, and if it thought people would allow Clicks to continue to feed them “absent-minded vitriol about our image as African people”.

“This advert is not only utter rubbish from your brands, it’s a reflection of an ongoing problem in this industry that dares to define what beauty is to any of us.

“Black women’s hair is a political issue ... I Basetsana Kumalo have joined the narrative about black hair long ago and won't be silenced when I see the continued portrayal of white hair as not just the norm but the standard,” said Bassie.

The EFF staged protests outside Clicks stores for much of the week but announced on Thursday that it had agreed to certain conditions with both Clicks and TRESemmé.

These conditions included that Clicks would withdraw all TRESemmé products from all its stores and replace them with locally produced products; Clicks would donate a minimum of 50,000 sanitary towels, 50,000 sanitisers and masks to rural and informal settlements identified by the EFF; Clicks would award scholarships to five students to pursue pharmaceutical studies in the next academic year — all five students must be black, rural, African females, and orphaned by HIV/Aids.

The EFF would in turn work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that provocateurs involved in the vandalism of Clicks stores were brought to book.