Has white South Africa lost touch with reality this week?

I cannot imagine that feeling where your stomach drops out your arse.  The person at Woolworths who signed off on the copy of their latest recruitment advert must have had their entire large colon fall out of their sphincter.

I think only the person who sits at the PR desk at Woolworths really knows how he/she feels.

Between them they must be absolutely sh*tting bricks this week. They could not print press releases fast enough to stop the social media/cyber bitch slap they are getting this week from all sides.

Facebook and Twitter have gone berserk.  People are raising their eyes to the heavens, there is hair pulling and their are threats of shoppers taking their custom else where.

It is as if all the good work they have done on My School Campaign and ensuring you make the best roast chickens in the world has all been shot to hell.

People are bringing up the Frankie thing, and then there is the Christians who are/were offended that Woolworths threatened/suggested taking Christian literature off their shelves.

I seriously feel empathy for that poor Woolworths sods.  Where ever he or she is – who ever approved the copy on the recruitment advert.  Odds are they were working off template they have been using for the last 5 years – but for what ever reason someone had the time to do a cut and paste a copy of the advert and drop it on Facebook ….and then everyone went ape shit.

I am not sure quite what people are making skid marks in their pants about.  A huge corporate ran a job advert asking for only black south africans to apply.  The horror.  The shock.  Really this is a problem – now ?

Has anyone who is ready to smite Woolworths to fire and brimstone ever looked through a job advert?  A good +80% of them say the same thing.

If you are black or coloured please apply, if you are white, really sorry you are not what we are looking for this week.

What ever Woolworths said, I guarantee they are saying nothing that most other recruiting companies have not said before – actually cut and pasted the same copy.  I can well imagine several ads that were due to appear in the weekend papers that have been pulled so copy editors and PR specialists can maybe re-tweak the copy a bit.

Are people up in arms because Woolworths needs to employ only black people for this particular recruitment campaign?

Are people upset because there is an advert running that specifically asks for only black people to apply?

Are people upset because Woolworths should have worded their advert with a bit more care?  But it was okay to make it clear that they wanted only black people to apply i.e  This is an affirmative action recruitment campaign/We will be recruiting against BEE protocol/We would like to hear from candidates who only speak Xhosa  and so on.

Is it news to them that a corporate recruits against a very specific “black empowerment” “affirmative action” “BEE quota”… what ever the phrasing is of the advertisement?

White people are going nuts.  Then again nothing gets white people going like being able to “LIKE” a social media page or JOIN a group on Facebook.  It makes them feel like they are really getting behind a cause.  For them it is the equivalent of a mass action …. a 2013 version of toy toying in the streets, for white people, whilst they drink their latte at Vida, and wait for their nanny to arrive!

I am amazed that white people are surprised/stunned/enraged that corporates hire along colour or race lines.

Was it a secret until they saw the Woolworths advert?

Or is it that Woolworths who really is everyone’s go-to-store, has offended their white customers who would prefer not to be reminded of this as they happily skip through aisles and decide whether the pesto or the creamed mushroom sauce is right for tonight’s dinner?

I worked in recruitment for several years from 2000. I have been retrenched 4 times and have had to scour the media for positions available – most ads I see are clear that I need to be black or at the very least coloured to apply.

Why exactly is Woolworths being crucified on the lawn for doing the same thing that most/all companies have been doing since 1994.

If it is all the same with you, I am still going to drop in at Woolworths for my weekly supply of Chuckles and the best roast chicken!  I will happily admit that I cannot live without Woolworths.  They will need to do far more to distance me as a loyal customer.

Woolworths will issue a well worded press release or a full-page Sunday Times advert picturing rainbow children who love each other, and then Joe and Jane Constantia will continue to shop at Woolworths like nothing ever happened.

A total storm in a corporate styrofoam coffee cup!

Leave a comment


  1. jaco

     /  September 20, 2012

    After reading your very elaborate but recurring post, I can’t help but feel out raged!! What happened to equality? What happened to the “previously disadvantaged”???? You obviously have a lot to say and defend their actions which I think is unwarranted and definitely not researched thoroughly enough!! Yes it was a boycott and yes it worked, why is all food suddenly on special? Price drops and empty stores?? I am a white male and I’m 24 years old! I did not have anything to do with the suppression of the people in the apartheid era, I have had to put blood sweat and tears into my goals and aspirations for me to get where I currently am!
    So forgive me I feel taken advantage of when I have worked my natural white ass off to get my degree and work my way up, only to be told the position has been given to a black male that has not even qualified or just made it through his equivalent degree by the skin of his teeth!! So before u act so careless about the Blatant Racism towards white people, ask yourself, if woolworths had to send out that exact same spec, just change the black to white!! Surely the strikes and ToyToying would’ve been all over the news….. But just because its whites that have to stand back, its not that big of a deal…

    Disgusted citizen

  2. Laura

     /  September 9, 2012

    I have been watching the Woolworths (WW) debacle. It seems that not only WW, but many commentators on both sides have missed the point.

    Let me say at the outset, I have no grievance with the goals of Employment Equity.

    However, WW have gone to an illegal extreme by advertising a position for “African Blacks only”. They cannot under any laws exclude somebody from applying for a job based solely on skin colour which is exactly what they have done. By so doing they have alienated many South Africans who have justifiably accused them of being racist. Some of them are just loving having the boot on their foot for a change!

    WW’s market is clearly from the more affluent who have the Rand votes to hurt them for their perceived racism.

    (Let us not forget that WW are employing white Australian males in senior positions, while excluding amongst others, white South African males. They have also recently been crowing about their huge increase in profits at the obvious expense to their Customers and Suppliers. In many ways they are the ugly face of capitalism!)

    However, there is a bigger aspect to this. Many South Africans have felt disenfranchised by the whole situation in the country. Marikana is an obvious example of this anger. Minority groups have had no voice for years and have been relentlessly attacked at every turn. The recent gratuitous killing of a 13 year old girl for her cell phone is terrible example of these attacks.
    These groups have suddenly found, thanks to the Woolworth idiocracy (a group of idiots working together) that they have a very powerful weapon in the form of their Rand vote. If this is widespread enough that it has a significant effect on WW profitably, this will change the political profile of the country. Worse still, if enough of their ex-Customers start protest shopping by ringing up trolleys of merchandise and then walking out, it could bring WW to their knees.

    In terms of the long term impact the WW debacle could supersede the upcoming Mangaung ANC conference! Its not a case of whether these minorty groups can do it, but rather, will they do it. Only time will tell.

    I suggest that the WW’s EE Policy should read “All races are welcome to apply for positions at Woolworths. Where two job applicants are equal in qualifications/ability/​potential we will give preference to the previously disadvantaged applicant” Instead WW just banned white applicants – the very people who are the majority of your market. They have opened themselves up to justifiable accusations of racism. Instead of sending their consumers with personalised emails entitled “An important message from WW” they should have acknowledged their error, rectified it, apologised and moved on.

  3. I honestly didn’t and still don’t get this whole drama? If you search jobs you see “AA” or “EE” or “suitable for a male” – no-one stages boycotts against those companies!

    I have stayed out of this debate cos I am actually not sure what I am supposed to be angry about?

    And if those boycotting feel strongly enough about this point then I suggest they head to the CBD and get their fresh produce from the vendor selling on the corner of the road! Because Woolies arent the only ones doing this!

  4. Very, very funny. Both your post and the Whiteys feeble and misguided boycott. I’m an SA Mum for whom Woolies is a lovely treat, and I ain’t boycotting no treats! Do you think the boycotters know you can get salmon elsewhere? I’ll let you know if I spot any of them in Pick n Pay or Checkers. They’ll be the ones looking lost, asking a confused employee where the olive powder is.

  5. The Ninja Mommy

     /  September 7, 2012

    Hilarious!!!! I was chatting on twitter last night about how their mini frosted donuts are just too good to boycott! Seriously, I got an email from a company a while ago literally saying ‘ Sorry but we are looking for a black female for the position.’ I clicked delete and moved on…if you’ve ever looked for a job, you will know this…but its a classic case of monkey see monkey do combined with something akin to goldfish brain span!!!

  6. Gail

     /  September 7, 2012

    I posted this on the Woolworths Facebook page yesterday and got SUCH a huge response (some positive, but most negative). I just don’t get it!

    “It makes me laugh to see how many people work themselves into a frenzy on social media. This whole Woolworths debacle has been totally blown out of proportion. Have any of you been onto Career Junction lately? Almost half the jobs posted are for affirmative action candidates. That’s the country we live in! Deal with it. Tonight I will be enjoying a delicious Woolies sundried tomato and feta stuffed roast chicken for supper , and maybe one of their great Malva puddings. Mmmm… Boycott shmoycot.”

    • reluctantmom

       /  September 7, 2012

      White people really need to get lessons in how to implement mass action …. we really are not very good at it, and especially because if there was an actual picket line, white people would want to bring snacks …. which they would have bought at Woolworths!

      • countesskaz

         /  September 7, 2012

        ha ha

      • The Blessed Barrenness

         /  September 7, 2012

        LOL! You are hysterical! And I totally agree with your blog post. I had the best shopping spree in Woolies on Wednesday, two days after the story broke, the store was empty. I shopped up a storm, turned my credit card inside out and didn’t have to stand in a single queue! Was fabulous! I’d call for a boycott just so that I can selfishly continue to enjoy such a pleasurable shopping experience!

  7. countesskaz

     /  September 7, 2012

    I ranted about this on my blog yesterday. A little storm in a tea cup. Follow this link, if there’s anything South Africans can do, it’s laugh at themselves.http://www.hayibo.com/whites-to-boycott-woolies-until-their-craving-for-salmon-becomes-too-strong/

  8. “LIKE x 1 000 000!” (the 2012 version of toy-toy) Hahahahah! Celeste, you are heeeelarious!

  9. Simone

     /  September 7, 2012

    Oh Celeste I too loved the ‘2013 modern toy toying’ analogy! LMAO!!

    I have seen some pretty specific ads myself…so quite surprised that my fave place to shop is being crucified like this!!

    As Tracy says…shorter queues for us in the end.

  10. Naomi

     /  September 7, 2012

    I say this as a black woman… had this ad asked only for white candidates to apply, we would have seen the same kind of drama! Maybe not a boycott on social networks, but big A2 size posters screaming “phanzi nge woolworths”.See that’s the thing with South Africa. We loooove complaining about stuff, all kinds of stuff!!We need to move on as a nation, we need to stop with this nonsense already. I was hella proud of all the Woolworths employees who came out and said, “hey, I’m not black and I work for Woolworths!

  11. tracy

     /  September 7, 2012

    Bwahahaha! I snorted my Woolworths-only ClemenGold orange juice when I read that click-click on social media is the White South African version of the toyi-toyi! Thank you for making my day, funny lady!

    Thank you also for showing me the offensive ad. Is that it? Really? All the brouhaha about that? I thought that was just standard job ad parlance in keeping with the labour laws and AA and BEE and all the other post-1994 SA “level-the playing-fields” acronyms. I thought it must be really offensive to explain the “toestand” that many have frothed themselves into. I thought it must at least have said: “Non-blacks need not apply. That means you, pale face!” I fail to see why whiteys are getting their (Woolies, 5-pack, pure cotton) knickers in a knot about common practice. As Ian Moir (Woolies CEO) said in his personal email to me and all other Woolies My School peeps, it’s the law. And has been for the last 17 years.

    But let the Rip van Winkles who have just awoken from their pre-1994 snooze boycott Woolies – just means shorter queues and more Chuckles for me and thee.


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