Chris Roper

Little works of poster art

2009-03-11 11:15

Chris Roper

Alas. It's that time of year again, when political party posters magically appear on our lampposts, like an interesting rash on the world's largest collection of shiny phallic symbols.

These posters are, presumably, at the forefront of getting people to vote. I mean, they must be, otherwise why spend so much money putting them up? I can imagine that most South Africans vote based on a platitude printed on a lamppost.

They certainly aren't voting based on a reasoned analysis of the various parties' political manifestos. You can tell this by the almost complete absence of hopeless sobbing coming from the voting booths on election day.

Given the importance of these posters, it behoves us (good word, that) to closely analyse the various party messages, and work out exactly what the parties are trying to tell us with their little works of poster art.

We'll do this in alphabetical order, starting with the Democratic Alliance. ("A" for "Affluent"). The DA poster is emblazoned with the puzzling slogan "Vote to Win". On the face of it, this seems to be a call to vote for the ANC.

Needing bigger posters

If you"re voting to win, there can only be one party to vote for, the party of popular appeal. Surely the cry should be, "Vote to Come a Distant Second"?

Or better still, "vote to stave off, perhaps, for just another few years, the terrible African apocalypse that will inevitably occur if you don't let a white chick take charge of things". Of course, you'd need bigger posters.

Secondly, the Freedom Front Plus. ("B" for "Bittereinders".) Their slogan is "Ons staan op vir jou regte". Translated into English - although I'm not sure they take English votes - that means, "We whine shrilly when the damn ANC tries to change Naziville's historic name to Terrorist Town".

It's a good slogan, if you're happy to only appeal to a small rightwing minority that thrives on paranoia and despair. Not a bad constituency, actually, and certainly preferable to one that thrives on paranoia and greed. Which brings us to the next party on our alphabetical list.

The poster slogan of the ANC ("C" for "Car-owning" (what, you thought it was going to be "Corrupt"? Tsk.)) is "Working together we can do more". Good grief. As pathetic rallying cries go, that has to rank up there with the slogans of the United Democratic Movement ("Vote for us if you're bored"), the Pan Africanist Congress ("Please notice us"), the African Christian Democratic Party ("Vote for us and we'll kill people who piss you off"), and the Africa Muslim Party ("Vote for us and we'll kill people who piss you off"). (Footnote: actual content of party slogans may vary.)

Promising slightly less

I thought you lot - well, I should say we lot, since for my sins, I actually vote for this bunch of wankers - were the African National Congress, not the Anaemic National Congress? "Working together we can do more." That sounds like the slogan of a furniture removals firm. And - "we can do more"? MORE? After 14 years in power, you can't upgrade to "we can do a lot"?

Do I really want to vote for a party that promises me slightly less crime, slightly less unemployment, slightly less corruption, and a miniscule amount of new housing?

Not really. But there's not much choice, is there? Although... there's always the Congress of the Poephol, I guess.

Their slogan is, "Fine, we'll get our OWN soccerball to play with then". And that's a fine slogan. A gravy train shared is a corruption charge halved, I always say.

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