SABC drops ‘xenophobic’ ads after backlash

2014-10-14 13:04

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The SABC has told City Press it will terminate a series of print adverts following complaints of xenophobia from the public.

The ads were run in August to encourage people to pay their TV licence fees. Instead, according to commentators on social media, they encouraged racism and insulted other countries, portraying the people of Kazakhstan, Ecuador and Mongolia as backwards.

Some regard the ads as xenophobic. “As a public service broadcaster, we want to make it clear that such an interpretation was not the intention, and therefore apologise for any misunderstanding, or misinterpretation of the ad, that may have arisen,” said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago this morning in response to queries from City Press.


In one ad, the broadcaster features four women dressed in traditional Ecuadorian attire, standing next to a llama in the mountains.

The advert suggests that if these women featured in the popular reality series Real Housewives, the show would be boring, rustic and backwards.

“You’ve got it good,” reads the SABC ad, implying Ecuadorians who also pay for their public broadcasting have dreary TV programming compared with South Africans.

“Mongolians have to pay their TV licence to watch Terbish milk her yak,” reads another, next to a picture of a rural woman and a large yak.

“The SABC has noted the feedback from the public,” said Kganyago. “There has been both positive and negative feedback in this regard ... We would like to state that we respect all cultures and will never deliberately bash any culture, whether in South Africa or outside the borders.”

Some Twitter users were quick to point out that the SABC had refused to flight the Nando’s Diversity ad featuring a Khoisan man two years ago, accusing it of being xenophobic.

“It must also be noted that this was a once-off campaign, which has not been repeated after August 2014. If there are any print/billboards in circulation, they will be terminated with immediate effect,” said Kganyago.

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