South Africa’s human rights watchdog said on Monday that it will next year launch an inquiry into allegations of racial discrimination that have rocked the country’s advertising industry in recent years.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said the inquiry is scheduled for 21-28 February 2022.
“In the recent past, there have been a few advertisements which have been indicative of racism and have evoked much criticism of the industry and their clients.
“In order to avoid the publication of another tone-deaf racist or discriminatory advert, and to ensure, in accordance with its objectives to promote: respect for human rights; a culture of human rights; and protection, development and attainment of human rights, the commission will undertake an investigation, into, amongst other aspects, the creation and publication of adverts and the people involved,” SAHRC said.
In one such “racist” incident, a leading beauty care chain came under fire in 2020 after one of its adverts allegedly compared black women’s hair to that of white people.
It said it hopes to craft medium to long term interventions following the inquiry, which would “instil in the advertising sector a culture of human rights and produce mechanisms that promote equality and prevent unfair discrimination.
“And, in doing so, prevent the publication of discriminatory (racist, sexist, tribalist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic or ableist) advertisements.”
It invited members of the public, advertising agencies and other interested groups to make written submissions to the commission before the end of January 2022.