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Poor Entrepreneurs are Illegal

Poor is Illegal



Cultures collide on the street poles of Johannesburg. Self-proclaimed urban space vigilante Nick Human is waging a very First World campaign against “the proliferation of large scale illegal outdoor advertising campaigns”. So incensed is the Saxonwold and Parkwood Resident and Ratepayers’ Association member at this “environmental and traffic safety” issue that he has taken it upon himself to plaster big orange stickers on offending billboards and posters all over Joburg’s Northern Suburbs. And while we’re all for some anal plonker running around confronting “illegal large scale [corporate] advertising campaigns” we think that targeting informal, grass roots entrepreneurs just trying to advertise their services is both anti poor and shows incredible insensitivity to the socio-reality of the majority of South Africans. It’s incendiary. Nothing quite highlights the gap between Mr Human’s cloistered and entitled suburban mentality and the reality of thousands of South Africans than that big orange illegal sticker obscuring some erstwhile building entrepreneur’s contact details. We suggest that Mr Human take his wanky, urbane little campaign to the streets of Perth ASAP. Muppet!

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  1. FrankyFinger says:

    I see a candidate for prick of the week. I bet this Mr Human also likes to clean his pool while wearing crocs with socks.

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  2. Lizzy says:

    shame, its clear that this ‘human’ character has no other outlet for his hatred of African reality. seems like he is the bigger, badder version of Durban’s ‘Mr John’ who whitewashed over graffitti a while back…

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr Human, you’re a f&$#@ idiot!!!
    go live in your Utopia, Orania!

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  4. Nick the prick not so Human says:

    Nick Human, sounds like Nix Human, as in Not Human. What a CUNT.

    If he stuck his dayglo stickers on the much more offensive main stream bill boards I would have less of an issue with him.

    One can only hope that karma does its thing, personally I wouldn’t like to taunt it so directly – almost asking for something ILLEGAL to befall this sanctimonious prick.

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  5. screaming doc hansen says:

    I like the pirate billboards because they have generated a whole new language, at least here in Durbs :
    pinting – what you do at the local after a tough day of defacing posters
    carpenting – herding 4 x 4 s ?
    tilling – ploughing back the profits ?

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  6. Steven says:

    Mr. Human, lets go print some pink dayglo stickers that read Tosser!
    and stick them all over the windscreen and bonnet of your luxury
    German sedan…shall we

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  7. Jingo. says:

    Ag, you bleeding heart Mahala readers make me wanna weep. You’re so desperate to belong to this falling to bits country you’ll buy into anything.

    Potholes? Give the road character.
    Running red lights? Brave and character building.


    What the hell’s wrong with someone pointing out that we’re all slowly drifting toward anarchy.

    And, by the way, these stickers are mainly on commercial, very first world, capitalist illegal adverts.

    Go for it, Nick Human. And screw all the bleeding hearts sideways.

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  8. ted newsagent says:

    Jungo, would you rather have these small-time entrepreneurs give up on making ends meet by doing small jobs from street ads and instead resort to a life of petty crime to make a living? I’m all for order and due process to make things more effcient and just, but you need to choose your battles carefully here. South Africa has often been criticised for legislation that makes it too difficult to start and run a business, partiuclarly if you don’t have much of a formal education. We should be spending more time and money on creating an environment that makes it easier for anyone to do legitimate business rather than clamping down on those who break such rigid regulations out of desperation.

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  9. Mau Mau Now Now says:

    Here’s the thing. He hates the signs, but instead of simply tearing them down, he spends money printing dayglo stickers and drives around, defacing the defacers. In his mind, this is more effective than simply removing the posters, because it sends a very clear message to the ILLEGAL people who put up ILLEGAL posters. Unfortunately the message is KILL EVIL WHITE PEOPLE NOW.

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  10. Notme says:

    @Mau Mau Now Now: It’s not more effective in his mind, he just wants people to pat him on the back for doing a “good job”

    What a fucken moegoe!

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  11. Nick Human says:

    I am very pleased that at least people have taken the time to respond to this article.

    Third world? Come on, get real – illegal outdoor advertising is a problem anywhere. It is not permitted in Cairo, Harare, Windhoek or Rabat – they are also Third World and in Africa. Citizens of Islamabad, Sao Paulo and many other so-called Third World cities have had enough of the stuff plastered onto buildings and everywhere else imaginable.

    We are fully aware the smaller informal guys need an outlet to advertisie and given them the opportunity to display their adverts on a large board for free, which we maintain and have paid for. This affords them the opportunity to place their ads in a way that people looking for the skills can easily find and contact them (a dual win). This is more than any one of you people writing in(or the city or government) has done for any single one of them tp provide employment opportunities. Please also bear in mind that a large number of formal companies are also involved in erecting illegal street pole ads, using far more sophisticated and expensive signs, they are the main target, not the little guys (who often use the back of the fancy signs to makes theirs – good recycling in a way).

    If more areas create little pockets where the informal guys can place their ads it will work better for them to generate meaningful business and people living in the area get to know where to look – a fixed yellow pages board in each neighbourhood – what is so bad about that?

    FrankyFinger, Lizzy,Notme, Mau Mau Now Now, Steven- what did you do to help these guys? Do you even know them? Come up with solutions for people to get employment, don’t just complain and blame. Be a part of a solution – little cardboard signs on poles is not going to create employment, it needs to be more focussed.

    We have spent a lot more time trying to get to the bottom of large scale illegal outdoor advertising. This is a huge revenue driven enterprise with enormous kickbacks being given out in dubious circumstances and has far more environmental impact. How about chopping down huge forty year old trees to place a billboard advertising a wedding expo as happened recently? All the illegal signs on the highways? Cheap canvas wraps covering multi-miilion rand buildings? Burnt out Telkom signs advertising an event that happened six months ago?

    And Mahala – once again thanks for the time!

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  12. headcleaner says:

    lets all get self-righteous over some guy’s self-righteous acts

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  13. Moose says:

    I’m all for the campaign against the illegal commercialisation of every element of our environment. But let the handmade signs, by small tradespeople go. They are really not the problem here.

    A central place to post informal ads, I don’t think will work. It’s like telling people to post an ad near the door of the supermarket. Nobody does it because it does not work. You need visible display advertising in a variety of places and the little guys should be cut some slack in this campaign.

    Other than that. Go Nick.

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  14. Sssss says:

    Human. Jingo.
    What a poes.
    nuff said.

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  15. fuck u puss says:

    Dear Mr Human puss cunt face!

    Listen hear and listen good.

    clearly u are a dumb fuck for starters.!

    secondly, you clearly do not have any talent or show signs of talent.

    like your mother surely told you, you are a useless piece of shit i tell you the same!

    those cardboard posters! are what give under privileged people an oppertunity to make a living, un like you who probably has a nice home or a family you can sufficiently accomadate they can’t. those boards are what keep them from raping your wife stealing your car and fucking u up and taking your cash! open your fucking eyes!

    In terms of Writers! when i Say Writers I mean Graffiti artists Tagging, bombing on walls that u dickhead is just what south africa needs. Its not about the illegal act of it but the expression of a culture or people! clearly you have no insight knowledge of it.

    South africa is a beautifull country and your ugly illegal signs yes your UGLY ILLEGAL signs fuck up everything.

    With that said i would personally like to say FUCK YOU you DUMB CUNT and i hope we someday get to meet because i would really love to fuck you up!


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  16. nevermind says:

    So I spotted one of Nick Human’s “Illegal” roll ups over some graffiti in my area and my heart sank, what was once a beautiful bright, and skillfully executed piece of public art is now a horrible abortion of self-righteous, green paint vigilantism.

    Tell me Nick, what’s your issue with graffiti? It’s not advertising, its ART. The last thing the world needs is another narrow minded culture nazi running through the streets wailing about lawful behavior and imminent anarchist doom…

    One word for you sir… HYPOCRISY

    Ignorance kills Nick… at least i hope it does….

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  17. REAL LIFE HELPER, ACTIVIST,ARTIST, ANILITICAL THINKER, GRAF WRITER. LMAO! (@ your febble attempts to be 'real') says:

    So if i get this right you put up adverts proclaiming illigal advertizing illigally and you place your adds over everyone ( capitalists to the exploited and even over murals whitch are probibly concentual to the owners of the property), obviously not taking time to think about placement.

    Then you try and rationalize it by saying “We have spent a lot more time trying to get to the bottom of large scale illegal outdoor advertising. This is a huge revenue driven enterprise with enormous kickbacks being given out in dubious circumstances and has far more environmental impact. How about chopping down huge forty year old trees to place a billboard advertising, etc.” (if you have how is what youre doing helping? you are such a fool for trying to enven act like a humaniterian, how fucking dumb do you expect everyone to be? when you are demorilizing people who are just trying to do there thing and get by.)

    and then…. The worst thing for me is how you put your misinformed, un-artistic, pretentious, bulshit oxmoron grafics over graffiti murials! graffiti is art for arts sake you ignorant fuck! majority of graffiti writers pay for this out of their own pockets and do it for their own personal reasons, not involving business or even recognision from the public, instead recognision from the comunitys involved only wich is a minority here and could never be capitalist if it wanted to. Its against the nature of it.

    I cant beleive how you do this and yet you are so ignorant (and arogant) to all these facts.

    You have made your self look like such a SILLY POES! LOL! you have even made your self look like a compleate TOY in the street art scene ( Spend more time trying to get to the bottom of that! it might help latter!) the only thing i can comend you for is creating alil controversy which cancels its self out because of our super weak exicution. i only hope you are dumb enough to brag about this and people find out who you are so we can all return the favour.

    PS: hows this help anybody, hows this help you even genious? unless you are the corpirate scum that erects the eyesores that you claim to be fighting against. south africa has one of the largest informal economys in the world too, and suports free and liberal bussiness more so than most places, its a good thing for people jus trying to get by. i dont even feel like getting into that as it probibly wont penitrate your thick skull or reach get to the two of your braincells that obviously dont talk mutch anymore.


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  18. REAL LIFE HELPER, ACTIVIST,ARTIST, ANILITICAL THINKER, GRAF WRITER. LMAO! (@ your febble attempts to be 'real') says:

    PS, if your woried bout the trees go plant another and do somthing constructive bok naai! johannesburg is also one of the greenest citys in then word incase you forgot conveniently and even though i understand that its kak to cut them down its not one of the bigger problems that we face here… fuck you but be very young and very stupid to think u actually making a diferance!

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  19. Shaun says:

    To be fair he puts these stickers up on ALL illegal posters, so to say he is targeting informal enterpreneurs is a bit mis-leading.

    To add to this there are laws governing the issue of placing posters on street signs etc. If you would like to chalnge this don’t challenge Nick – he’s just a busy-body with too much free time – challenge the law.

    If it were up to me we would have no advertsing, corporate or otherwise, on streetlamps. Wouldn’t it be pleasant to drive home without being told you need read The New Age, use Vagi-clean and buy Steers?

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  20. Andy says:

    No Shaun… read the piece again. We’re not saying he only targets informal entrepreneurs. We’re saying that he shouldn’t target informal entrepreneurs! Can’t believe i had to explain that

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  21. Nick Human says:

    I think what we set out to do – highlight some illegal signs is working – given this debate in such a limited forum (despite a few dubious comments).

    Remember that SIS is a part of SAPRA – ie two suburbs in JHB. SAPRA has been working with Jo’burg Council, Metro Police (By-laws), etc to reduce the impact/proliferation of ILLEGAL outdoor ADVERTISING, as well as with around 15 other residents’/ratepayers associations – that do their own thing (we have no control over them). Mahala is in Cape Town, which does not have a problem with outdoor advertising because of the control there.

    Grafitti is not advertising – unless they are trying to sell something. Wherever that sticker on grafitti is, I can promise you it is not in a SAPRA area. I would be the first to agree that painted art can be fantastic and should be promoted – so those souls who accuse SAPRA of something should be more aware of the circumstances. The least the artist should do is arrange approval prior to the installation.

    The signs stuck up illegally on lampposts/stop signs, etc are for the most part very sophisticated and part of many companies’ marketing strategies. The MINORITY may be cardboard signs, but you cannot target six signs fixed illegally on one stop sign and then decide not to do something about the most illegible cardboard one. Who is to say why one is a bit more legal than another anyway? You may then argue that the company that has spent a lot of money on their illegal outdoor signs has more rights because theirs is better produced? That would be totally ridiculous. Major companies are the bigger problem. Sao Paulo banned all forms of outdoor advertising because of the problem getting totally out of hand.

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  22. @andy says:

    And I am saying that if we go by the law he should be targetting all illegal posters, not merely leave the small time entrerpreneurs alone because we should feel sorry for them. Can’t believe I had to explain that.

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    wank wank wank

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