Tony Lankester
Tony Lankester

ANC Youth League declares war on cocks

(This post first appeared on tonylankester.com)

Sometimes writing a blog entry is hard work. Occasionally, though, someone gives you material — an idea, a reference or image to work from — that is so rich, so ripe with possibility it makes you want to hurl yourself at the feet of the giver, weeping with gratitude.

That’s how I feel now. Please read this statement issued today by the ANC Youth League. Cut and pasted, with no additions or deletions from me. Yet.

ANC YL instructs Nandos to promptly withdraw their disgusting advertisements.
The African National Congress Youth League calls for the immediate withdrawal of the disgusting Nandos television and radio advertisements which uses cheap satire to undermine electoral politics in South Africa. Whatever is the lousy explanation of the Nandos advertisement, the ANC YL is fully aware that the advertisement is intended at mocking the President of the ANC YL, and in a racist fashion portrays political leaders as Cartoons.

The ANC YL has commissioned our Lawyers to investigate the legal issues that could arise around the whole advertisement, and they will soon advise us on action. While awaiting the legal advice, the ANC YL instructs the Nandos Company and those who did the advertisement to promptly withdraw the advert from all television screens and radio channels. If Nandos does not withdraw the adverts, the ANC YL will mobilise the people of South Africa to take militant action against Nandos and anything associated with Nandos.

Oh where to start???? Other bloggers like Matt Buckland have had their say on the ad and I am largely in agreement that it is average at best. If you haven’t yet seen it, do yourself a favour and view it now.

Let’s now go through this little gem of a press statement piece by piece

ANC YL instructs Nandos to promptly withdraw their disgusting advertisements.

The African National Congress Youth League calls for the immediate withdrawal of the disgusting Nandos television and radio advertisements which uses cheap satire to undermine electoral politics in South Africa.

OK we’ll ignore the contorted grammar/confused singularisation of “uses”. I love the fact that the ANCYL genuinely believe that they have the right to “instruct” anyone to do anything. When did they become so powerful? And they’ve missed the point — the ad in question does use satire, but not to “undermine electoral politics in South Africa”. It uses satire to illustrate what a complete and utter buffoon Julius Malema is. On the one hand the nation’s joker laughably sets himself up as the party’s “decoy”, providing political cover for his masters to continue their race to the Union Buildings unhindered. In so doing he is happy to verbally harangue and demean whoever comes across his path without a hint of decorum or dignity. On the other, he gets cross when a puppet makes him look, well, like the blustering buffoon that he is.

Whatever is the lousy explanation of the Nandos advertisement, the ANC YL is fully aware that the advertisement is intended at mocking the President of the ANC YL…

Again, some fearless mangling of the English language and distortion of logic. But isn’t it great that they feel compelled to articulate how aware they are of the purpose of the ad. “You can’t pull the wool over our eyes…we know you’re taking the piss” they assert. Well…duh. Well spotted guys. If you didn’t get that the ad was intended to mock Mr Malema then you really would be in serious trouble. Well done on getting the joke.

…and in a racist fashion portrays political leaders as Cartoons.

I enjoyed the random use of capitals here. It makes the word stand out — again in a “we spotted that this wasn’t really our beloved President” kind of way. But hang on a second, let’s take another look at the ad — it wasn’t a Cartoon or even a cartoon. It was, in fact, a puppet. Or, more accurately, a ventriloquist’s doll. The person standing next to it pretending to be the operator was a clue. But what I’m missing here is this: The sentence construction might be at fault here but it seems to say that portraying a political leader as a Cartoon (puppet) is a racist action. I’m sorry? I’m just not getting it.

The ANC YL has commissioned our Lawyers to investigate the legal issues that could arise around the whole advertisement, and they will soon advise us on action. While awaiting the legal advice, the ANC YL instructs the Nandos Company and those who did the advertisement to promptly withdraw the advert from all television screens and radio channels.

Let’s put this another way: We phoned our Lawyers (like Cartoons, deserving of a capital. Quite right too.) and told them we were unhappy. They are presently locked in the law library desperately trying to find some justification for legal action. But whether or not they find anything, we still want you to pull the advertisement. No, scratch that, we don’t want you to…we are instructing you to. We’re hurt and feel betrayed by Nando’s and we’re going to put the word “Company” after their name, again with a capital, just to show how serious we can be. And at the same time we are going to enjoin those who “did” the advertisement just for good measure. Note that advertisements are “done” these days, not made or produced or created. Done.

If Nandos does not withdraw the adverts, the ANC YL will mobilise the people of South Africa to take militant action against Nandos and anything associated with Nandos.

This is my favourite bit. Not only are we so overwhelmingly pissed off with Nando’s, but we are convinced that the “people of South Africa” agree and will join our “militant action”. But wait — there’s more. Not only are we going to take this action against Nando’s, but “anything associated with Nandos”. Anything? Anything at all? Just to help the ANCYL here is a list of things “associated with Nandos” that they need to make sure to include in their action:

  • Chicken (obviously)
  • Peri-Peri (ditto)
  • Mozambique (their map is on every wall in every branch)
  • Chicken livers (from the starter menu)
  • China (who make the toys that come in the kiddies packs)
  • Mealies, mealie farmers and all people everywhere who sell, eat or look at mealies (including the lady in the Madam & Eve Cartoon…yet again clearly racist and the ANCYL’s next target)
  • Wet wipes (who do a roaring trade when people eat Nando’s in their cars)
  • The Nando’s branch in London
  • The Lusitoland Festival and, by extension, everyone living in the south of Johannesburg
  • Potato wedges, potato farmers and people who look like potatoes
  • Me (because I had Nando’s for dinner tonight)

There’s more, obviously, but let’s not get picky. To battle people. Our leader’s dignity has been attacked. Not by him (this time) but by those cocky people who did the advertisement. At last, something meaty to complain about.

Look, on a serious note, the ad is lame. Not up to Nando’s usually high standard. It plays to stereotypes, isn’t particularly well acted and lacks a fiery punchline. But deserving of militant action? Hardly. If Julius Malema ever wants to be taken seriously as a politician, it is time he grew up. Seriously. Or else he will continue to be the national joke, the laughing stock of all and a continued source of shame to millions of intelligent and rational ANC members. And he will, therefore, never be a serious contender for high office. But at least there will be lots of laughs on the way.