Protesters are said to have gathered outside several pharmacy chain stores in South Africa following a shampoo advertisement which has been slammed by the critics as “racist”.

The advertisement, compared two photos of Black women’s hair with two photos of white women’s hair, labelling the natural hair “dry and damaged” and “frizzy and dull”, while the white women’s hair was described as “fine and flat” and “normal”.

The advertisement which was commissioned by the TRESemme hair company was carried on the Clicks pharmacies’ website.

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The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party on Monday called for demonstrations over the issue and rallied people to protest outside the company’s outlets.

We will not permit the unrepentant and perverse racism of Clicks to go on in South Africa. #clicksmustfall,” the EFF posted on Twitter.

Many on social media also expressed their outrage over the advertisement, with Black women posting photos of their hair with hashtags #RacismMustFall and #BlackHairIsNormal.

Clicks Pharmacy has however issued “an unequivocal apology” and pulled down the images since anger over the advertisement grew.

We are strong advocates of natural hair and are deeply sorry we have offended our natural hair community,” it said in a statement on its Twitter account. “We have made a mistake and sincerely apologise for letting you down.”

Unilever SA, TRESemme’s parent company, also published an apology on its website that read: “We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemme South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair. The campaign is set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers, but we got it wrong.”

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