BUSINESSWOMAN and former Miss South Africa Basetsana Khumalo has dragged a Fourways cycling shop to court for using her picture in an advertisement without her consent.
Khumalo is demanding R750 000 from Cyclelab, saying they exploited her financially and humiliated her by publishing a picture - in a magazine - in which she looked as if "she had not slept in 10 days".
Cyclelab says it did Khumalo more good than harm by promoting her as a good role model who led a healthy lifestyle and because she is black.
"Her beauty is her skin colour. We do not have ladies of colour in the cycling industry," store owner Andrew McLean said.
"We used her picture not based on who she is. In our industry she is not relevant. Had it been about her we would have used her name."
Testifying in the Johannesburg high court yesterday Khumalo said: "My face is my business. My brand value has been devalued. They portrayed me in a way that could lead to potential clients thinking I have gone down the drain."
"I am brand ambassador for various companies, including cosmetic companies."
She is demanding R250 000 for financial exploitation, R500 000 for the damage done to her image, emotional and mental trauma and the humiliation she suffered.
Khumalo said in 2007 she went to Cyclelab to buy a bicycle dressed in a tracksuit and sneakers with no make-up on because she was running a private errand over the weekend.
"While the sales person was showing me various biking accessories, someone appeared and asked if they could take my picture," she said.
"I looked up and I was immediately photographed. I did not say anything because I did not want to cause a scene. I'm not one for drama and diva tactics."
Khumalo said she was later phoned by her friend Peggy-Sue Khumalo, who told her about the "horrible" picture she saw in an advert.
She contacted the store through her lawyers, demanding a retraction of the advert, an apology and R100000 to be donated to charity.
"They treated my gesture with disdain and disregard," she said.
Cyclelab lawyers suggested that Khumalo filed the lawsuit just to get money.
She denied the claims, saying she had been blessed with success and did not need to solicit money through the courts.
The case continues today.