South Africa News

Curro responds to alleged racist ad controversy with sensitivity training for marketing team

Curro Holdings has engaged external and independent experts to conduct a review and hold workshops and training sessions for its social media team.

The independent education group said this is part of its plans to reaffirm its commitment to diversity and non-racism.

In response to questions put forward by the publication, Curro Holdings’s special projects portfolio manager, Melanie Fortuin-Durr, said the institution is also conducting an awareness and sensitivity campaign about social media for senior and mid-level leadership at its schools.

The intervention comes in the wake of a social media storm in which Curro was accused of stereotyping children in its latest marketing campaign.

Curro Holdings came under fire this week over an advert that went viral showing a black child “employed” as a cashier while a white child was “employed” as a veterinarian.

“We immediately suspended the campaign and associated social media activities which gave rise to this incident. We are reviewing all social media practises, policies and guidelines from the ground up,” Fortuin-Durr said.

She said Curro is improving its formal on-boarding for staff to ensure a deep understanding of the institution’s values and policies and effective adherence thereto.

Curro has also clarified that its internal investigation have established that the images of the children were part of an excursion by learners at a Curro school in the Western Cape.

“They originated from a visit to an activity centre in which the children all had an opportunity to play alternate roles each, including that of a cashier, a veterinarian and a banker.

“The images were used with consent from their parents in terms of our existing policies and the relevant school community did not take offence at the posting on its community page,” she explained.

The posts have since been removed from social media.

The parent of the girl portrayed as a cashier has rubbished people’s remarks on social media.

Fortuin-Durr added that the mother said her daughter’s teacher had also shared pictures with her where she could see the fun her daughter was having.

“Her daughter had specifically enjoyed the role of cashier. The mother is unhappy that the public interpretation of the picture of her daughter is out of this context and being used divisively,” she said.


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