Sibongile Mafu

Don't sweat the small race stuff

2013-04-25 07:25

Sibongile Mafu

I enjoy a good advert. As long as it's not interrupting my favourite programmes or bullying its way into what I'm reading. I take joy in praising it when it's good and take a considerable amount of joy in lambasting it when it's unimaginative and weak.

I find that in South Africa I'm constantly bombarded by dull advertising that, for the most part, takes very cheap shots at black people.

I don't have Dstv so I watch a considerable amount of what many label "welfare" television. I have very limited choice in terms of programming so when I do watch something, I watch all of it, including the advertisements, and boy are they poor.

In a recent column I read by Jeremy Maggs, from Maggs on Media, titled "Enough With the singing dancing Blacks", he made a clear point about how there was conclusive evidence that black people shout and dance when they purchase and use a productive. Unless you're selling me dancing shoes or a loudhailer, there is no need for this. Adverts like this make me angry and annoyed and give me some good complaining material for social media but am I expending too much energy on the small race stuff?

Are these petty things really where my focus should lie in terms of understanding racism, and how it lives so strongly in our day-to-day lives?

Should we let it slip?

This week there has been uproar around a radio advertisement for Xpanda, a security gate manufacturer, which many have labelled as racist, offensive and frankly, just bad. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, many think it's clever, "true" and funny. Below is a transcript for the 30 second advert:

Voice artists 1: "What you inside for, boet?"

Voice artists 2: "Eish, I was so hungry. So I walk up to the kitchen by the boss's house and grab a roast chicken. The madam, she slammed the Xpanda door in my face. No way out. That is how I ended up in jail, with no chicken. Eish."

Voice artists 3: "Xpanda, arguably the world's best barrier security company. Dial 0861972632, or visit Xpanda.co.za, to get your safety on."


What am I troubled by the most? Maybe how poor it is, and completely unfunny. How it manages to squeeze in an incredible amount of nothing into 30 seconds, drawing from every stereotypical advert blueprint known to man. And thirdly, that a group of creative South Africans approved this and thought it was good to go. They probably all high-fived each other in the room, each one reassuring the next that they had hit Nando's-like gold.

The Managing Director of Xpanda found nothing wrong with the advert, saying that all who worked on it had a blast. There are also other adverts in the campaign that also featured jailed white, Indian and coloured men which will roll out soon. I haven't seen the scripts for those but I'm already cringing.

Should I even be upset about this? I should be saving my weapons and ammunition for bigger battles down the line. Or maybe get a sense of humour. But surely it's these very incidents that we should be crying out about. If we let this slip, we'll be okay letting everything else slip, leaving us with very little that's changed.

Battle versus war

I sometime wonder if reform is about changing the small things, hoping that it will eventually add up to a big thing, or if it's about changing one big thing that will change everything. The battle versus the war.

But does fighting these "small" battles mean I must get actively upset about everything I find demeaning? Or only the uncreative ones like this one?

If you're going to be offensive, do it with a little bit of finesse.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

Send your comments to Sibongile

Disclaimer:
News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24
.

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Stop it, America

2016-09-23 08:04

SHARE:

24.com 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
66 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.