Nonkululeko says recent events are in direct conflict with her initiative against racism and prejudice.
Nonkululeko Gobodo has resigned from the Clicks Group board as a non-executive director, stating that she was leaving on a matter of principle because its recent advert portraying black hair negatively went against her values.
This follows Clicks being in the centre of protests after it published an ad on its website labelling black hair as “dry, frizzy and damaged” and labelled white hair as “normal”.
Nonkululeko, who was the first black woman in South Africa to become a chartered accountant, said that she had raised a red flag with management a few months ago over the way the company was communicating with black customers. She added that Clicks alone shouldn’t take the fall for the advert, as the retailer merely published the content that TRESemmé had created.
“The events of the past few days came to a place of being in direct conflict with an initiative that I’ve started called Awakened around racism and prejudice against women. It’s something that I’m passionate about,” she said.
She added that she was leaving Clicks because she wanted to be free to pursue her initiatives. “I want to be free to pursue my initiatives. I don’t want to limit what I say because I’m afraid of the impact on Clicks. Clicks must go through their journey of repairing the damage and I want to go on my journey of putting firmly on the table and the agenda of the country the issue of racism and prejudice against women.”
Nonkululeko explained that she was deeply affected by the ad published on the retailer’s website. “What happened last week was very sad [and] it affected me personally. As a black woman, I felt disrespected by that advert and it is something that I cannot deny how deeply it affected me.”
She insisted that big corporates need to learn how to speak to black customers and recognise that this population segment pays the companies’ bills.