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Settler Chicken

by Mahala High Five Brigade / 06.06.2012

Once again, the public broadcaster has decided to exercise its authority and unilaterally ban an advert. Followed quickly by the yellow programming managers at eTV and DSTV. The official line borders on the ridiculous, something about the ad having “violated the Electronics Communications and Transactions Act and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) code”. It begs the question: who actually makes these decisions? What is their agenda, and who do they consult?

As per usual, twitter ran amok with accusatory fingers pointed in all directions: the broadcasters, the spectre of an ANC thought police, Nandos and, of course, South Africa’s favourite pastime, racism. The ever-present elephant in the room (or is it hen) reared its head again for the fifth week in a row, a victory by any measure. Beginning with that week when #Kaffir was a trending topic (thanks Jessica), then going forth into incidents such as the UWC students’ facebook comments, the DA/COSATU clash, De Klerk’s justification of apartheid, and the infamous Speargate, racism – and any of its variations – seems to be the cushion we so comfortably fall back on, collectively, as a nation, whenever we’re confronted with something uncomfortable.

Of course at the same time that the TV broadcasters were busy contemplating banning the ad, service delivery protests were happening in Phillipi, a community wracked by exactly the same currents of xenophobia the Nandos ad attempts to address. Another tell-tale sign that we’re a nation still battling to commit to our own healing process, is that we’re consistently side-tracked into non-debates about rubbish. Not to mention that public opinion is being led by a group of yellow broadcasters busy negotiating their own kind of managing upward sycophantic self-censorship of entirely innocuous messages, like this Nandos ad. It may seem redundant within the context of this article, but these recurring service delivery marches, along with reports of the dire situation of our education system that surfaced (and got swept under the carpet) during the past two weeks of Speargate, should force us to really consider where our priorities as a nation lie.

The advert in and of its own is aesthetically pleasing; the casting, camera angles, editing and grading are top notch. The moral of the story, according to our understanding, is that no one really belongs here or owns this land – well, apart from the Khoisan, the First People. In the end, the ad has a three-pronged effect: it is enjoyable to watch, it raises pertinent moral questions about the concept of ‘belonging’ and ‘ownership’, and, of course, it advertises Nandos’ product.

Indeed, it’s obvious, as with most Nandos ads, the agency’s mandate was to deliver controversy (the 240K Youtube hits can attest to its success). People are talking about it. All the broadcasters managed to achieve by their self-censorship was to ensure that thing went viral online. And while the marketing set on Biz-Community will crow and congratulate the agency, and the brave client, the sycophantic response of the broadcasters is far more concerning. It exemplifies the new climate of fear and insecurity in asserting the fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution, post Speargate. This is hardly a risqué message. Neither is it racist. It is a simple truth wrapped in an ad for peri-peri chicken. The fact that a fast food chicken brand is at the leading edge of political satire in South Africa only serves to compound our concerns.

But save the last nugget of stupidity for SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago who justified the censorship with the statement that the broadcaster was concerned “that the public might interpret it differently”. He’s basically admitting that from now on, they’ll be doing the thinking for us.

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  1. Chuck says:

    “Begs the question” is used incorrectly. Ja ja grammar nazi naai, but for some reason it always pisses me off.

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  2. Drunken Bastardman says:

    In my opinion, the ad was banned because it could derail the next phase of post-apartheid: land re-theft. It’s a massively important political trump card for the ruling party, to be played in the next few years as supporters become more disgruntled with non-delivery. So any attempt to undermine the doctrine — Europeans are evil and they stole all the land and they deserve what’s coming — will be suppressed. As much as Europeans may have a certain homogenous attitude towards Africa — corrupt, warlike, savage — Africans themselves have their own fairy stories about the “good old days” where all tribes lived in harmony, there was zero child mortality, great healthcare and equal rights for women and children. Oh, plus being the “original inhabitants” who can lay claim to everything.

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  3. Rol says:

    Its not at all a new thing for the SABC to chicken out (harhar – sorry) of airing touchy content based on some flimsy premise of protecting us from ourselves. Why they choose not to protect us from SAB or Steven Seagal’s career highlights in the same spirit is beyond me. The take-away message (har – did it again) is that tits, explosions, beer adverts and sms-subscribed funeral plans can safely entertain us without fear of side-effect or influence, but a public debate on our origins and history could be provocative and harmful.

    However, something that our half-bright power-clowns have failed to grasp so far is that their efforts to divert or shut down a debate usually attract 10 times the attention and noise than if they’d simply taken a hands-off approach and let society decide for themselves. This doesn’t just apply to the SABC but to the wider atmosphere of accountability versus deniability – why admit you were wrong and move on, when you can exercise your right to Deny Deny Deny?

    Examples include:
    the handling of the Dalai Lama’s visit (if they’d said “ok, vokkit man, it’s just an old man’s tea party, have a visa already”, China would still be buying our minerals either way);
    the Caster Semenya saga (attacking the IAAF as racists, instead of just fricking complying with the tests already – the world would’ve forgotten in 24 hours);
    lawsuits and court action against Zapiro, Brett Murray etc. (Zapiro CAN’T drop the showerhead now, and JZ has only himself to thank for that);
    a drunk-ass Judge Motata who only had to say “I’m sorry about the wall, its all very embarrassing but I hope you know we all make mistakes” and submit himself for a wristslap. Instead we had to drag him by the heels through a court system that he himself knows is overburdened with bigger issues than Houghton Conspiracies Against Black Men with Jaguars.

    I have a proposition, however, something that could solve many of our problems quickly and effectively.
    I would like to introduce a new acronym to RSA politics. Something that I would like our leaders to feel comfortable saying, something that they could even embrace and use as a tool for reconciliation and healing. Just three little words.

    I would like our president to be able to stand up and say “Citizens, comrades, colleages, on this matter, I have reviewed the available evidence and I would like to tell you: W.W.W.
    We Were Wrong.”

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  4. Anonymous says:

    banning this add is the same as banning this country’s history – it’s what communists do . and fuck communists!

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  5. Jirre says:

    I don’t know who wrote this but I’d like more of this quality writing, please.

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  6. Blues says:

    the koisan were in the cape, where the settlers landed. dimwits.

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  7. ling-ling says:

    there is alot to be said for the good communism can do. That was not communism it was fear.

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  8. Lodi Matsetela says:

    The problem with the ad is that it simply states that the original people of South Africa are Khoisan – ignoring the Nguni inhabitants of the past two, three centuries – who were then discriminated against with the arrival European settlers – are the only true original inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa, without going over what happened in-between, what happened was



    Apartheid wasn’t simply a doctrine its perpetrators took wealth or the ability to generate wealthy from a distinguished group of people – BLACK PEOPLE – in the form of LAND!!!!
    This Advert suggests that those people who were land owners don’t have a right to claim that land today – land which in many instances was taken away from them, forcibly taken from them.

    It is too convenient to skip a HUGE part of history and blame the current governments (a corrupt flawed government) attempts to clarify what the truth is. All the comments made above are by people who never bothered to ask themselves IN THEIR ENTIRE ADULT LIVES how can a whole population a whole race have absolutely no ownership of land, why are they farm workers and not farmers? why are they construction workers and not owners of construction companies?? Why can’t they read, why are their languages not spoken? Why do they get a separate TV channel from us? Why are they all squashed up in small townships?
    Why do we never have these honest conversations? Indoctrination and denying a people education is a devastation that is almost impossible to overcome.
    Let’s get real.

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  9. Drunken Bastardman says:


    You’re quite right. I’m completely naive, I’ve never, ever once thought in my adult life about how and why black people have been marginalised, murdered, subjugated and disenfranchised. I meet my (all white) business associates at some upmarket Sandton bistro every evening to gloat over inequality and sponsor vajazzling parties for DA WAGS. My friends and I have never once discussed both sides of any racial debate, have never attempted in any way to understand the consequences of the past and how it might be atoned for.

    Until YOU get real, and understand that not everyone is the demon you cast them to be, your engagement will simply be superficial rhetoric.

    Also, I believe you’ve misunderstood the ad. It’s not saying “black people have never been disenfranchised and all the land rightfully belongs to Europeans’, it’s saying “we are all immigrants, it’s just a question of timing”.


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  10. Lola says:

    I think all white South Africans should watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqYnaFQlxyQ

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