MWEB 'deeply sorry' for offence caused by witches advert

2014-01-22 18:16

Internet service provider MWEB has issued an apology for a radio advert that mocks witches.

“MWEB is deeply sorry for any offence caused by the once-off radio advert. It was certainly not the intention,” it said in a statement.

The almost two-minute long advert claims witches from the Eastern Cape have moved with the times and now gather on social media platforms to “discuss their latest acts of sorcery and the latest trends in witchcraft”. It mentions the Facebook page of Amagqwirha ase EC (Witches of Eastern Cape) and suggests that they use MWEB’s service to send “curses via Twitter”.

The apology was issued on Monday after Damon Leff, director of the SA Pagan Rights Alliance (Sapra), filed a complaint to the company. Sapra is an umbrella organisation that advocates for the rights of pagan religions like Wicca – a witchcraft religion.

“The advert was enjoyable, but I did not like it because it propagated stereotypes about witches. This has led to witch-hunts and the killing of many innocent people,” Leff said.

He said witches in South Africa were highly misunderstood and stereotyped. He said the misinformation and ignorance surrounding the faith had led to the terrorisation of modern-day witches.

“The reality is different. Modern-day witches don’t have superpowers and they can’t fly on brooms. They cannot work outside the bounds of nature,” Leff said. He explained that witches believed in nature and “pre-Christian Gods”.

MWEB said the advert was not a brand campaign but a creative exercise.

“What the team was trying to do was to create a memorable radio advert that presented our offer in a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek manner rooted in the culture of the consumers we were talking to.”

It said the advert “was produced very much in the style of the isiXhosa radio dramas that play on isiXhosa stations”.

Leff said Sapra had accepted MWEB’s apology and would continue to fight against the prejudices experienced by witches.

“We don’t want this minority group to be victimised because of misinformation,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.