Pharrell with Woolies vs Boycott Woolworths

The announcement of musician Pharrell Williams’ collaboration with Woolworths for sustainability projects was overshadowed by BDS South Africa’s #BoycottWoolworths campaign.

On Thursday 9 April 2015, Williams tweeted: “Proud to collab with retailer @Woolworths_SA. Are you with us, South Africa? See you in September! #PharrellWithWoolies”. But some members of the public reacted adversely and responded with tweets.

The collaboration is part of The Woolworths Good Business Journey and aims to “uplift education in South Africa” and create sustainable food farming.

In a press statement, CEO for Woolworths Holding Limited Ian Moir, says that the collaboration is built on shared values between the parties. “Pharrell is a global icon for social cohesion, advancement through education and environmental awareness – these same values lie at the heart of our business and form the foundation on which this partnership is built,” he says.

In a statement Williams says: “We want to bring together everyone who cares about making a difference. Like Woolworths. They are a global blueprint for how good businesses should do good business.”

However, BDS SA will write to Williams, formally requesting that he postpone the collaboration until Woolworths divests from Israel. The BDS #BoycottWoolworths campaign is inspired by the anti-apartheid boycott movement of the 1980s against companies that traded with Apartheid South Africa.

“Given our history, as South Africans, we call for the boycott of companies, such as Woolworths, who continue to trade with Apartheid Israel. We trust that Pharrell Williams will heed our call,” stated Kwara Kekana National Spokesperson of BDS SA.

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