'This was not blackface, it was bad makeup,' insists Dis-Chem store manager

The Dis-Chem branch at Killarney Mall has received harsh criticism for its African Beauty Fare display.

The shop displayed a white mannequin with an ochre-toned product on its face which resembled blackface.

Dressed in African-print clothing and traditional sandals, the mannequin was accompanied by a hut, a reed mat and some calabashes.

Dis-Chem apologised for the display, saying it was an isolated incident.

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to Dis-Chem Killarney Mall store manager Tarryl Moonsamy to find out what was the thinking behind the display.

The mannequin was done distastefully and it was a bad make-up job done by one of the staff members in the store. The minute I saw it, I removed it.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

The theme was African Beauty Fair and that is what we went along with. One of the staff members took their own initiative to start creating a display and once the display was done I removed it because it looked wrong.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

Moonsamy says the said staff member wanted to embrace her own culture.

The staff member who did it wanted to embrace her own culture and she wanted to bring about something about herself into the display which definitely went wrong. It was a mistake on the make-up job done from our side.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

She maintains that Dis-Chem does not own mannequins and the staff came with it from home.

We don't have mannequins, the staff member brought in her own mannequin and she did the display on it.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

Dis-Chem does not have mannequins, she brought it as a prop to do her display.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

This was not blackface, adds Moonsamy.

We did not intend to make a mockery of anyone. This is not blackface it was bad make-up.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

We will never have something like that to upset anyone in future.

Tarryl Moonsamy, Store manager- Dis-chem Killarney Mall

Eusebius also spoke to social commentators Pearl Boshomane-Tsotetsi and Lethlogonolo Mokgoroane about the display and the explanation from the manager.

I think people have the idea that for it to be blackface it has to be completely black and the lips have to be literally red.

Pearl Boshomane-Tsotetsi, Journalist

She makes the admission that is it blackface and when asked directly she says it is not blackface. We think intentions matter in these instances.

Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, Commentator

Listen to the full interview below...


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