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'Rogue' black face mannequin snapped in Dis-Chem store

'Rogue' black face mannequin snapped in Dis-Chem store

Pharmacy chain Dis-Chem has landed itself in hot water over a "black face" mannequin that appeared as part of a display in the Killarney Mall store in Johannesburg.

A Sunday Times staff member photographed the display, which featured a white mannequin dressed in cultural clothing, on Friday.

The mannequin’s face had been tinted with something to seemingly give it a black face appearance. At its feet were a reed mat, an oddly shaped hut and an assortment of African kitchenware.

Jan Opperman, manager of Dis-Chem’s Killarney branch, claimed the display was put together by an unnamed staff member at the directive of head office.

“Every year we have different ones [themes for campaigns] sent to us from head office,” said Opperman. “We all do it differently.”

When asked who gave the go-ahead for the display to be erected, Opperman hung up. He refused to take further calls from our journalist.

Dis-Chem marketing operations coordinator, Obakeng Modubu, said she knew nothing about the display at the Killarney branch. She said the only campaign sent out to stores was titled "Beauty Fair", and the accompanying artwork featured a series of dots arranged into circles.

“We have the same themes for all our stores nationally as well as the ones in Namibia and Botswana. It is very important they all do the same thing as they are given the same directive from head office.”

She was surprised the Killarney store had used a mannequin in their display as these are not permitted.

“We know nothing about this. We never use mannequins in store and we will be looking into it. I have forwarded the issue to head office,” she said.