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
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
1/2 Our annual beauty fair promotion is a celebration of South African beauty. We strongly condemn any kind of affiliation with blackface. This goes against everything that we stand for as a brand and as a company.— Dis-Chem (@Dischem) February 21, 2020
2/2 We sincerely apologise, this is an ongoing investigation but we can confirm so far our initial investigation shows that this was an isolated incident with no malice or disrespect intended. Sincerely Dis-Chem— Dis-Chem (@Dischem) February 21, 2020
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...