News December 19, 2018 at 09:00 am

Ad of black prince discovering Europe banned for mocking African colonial struggles

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey December 19, 2018 at 09:00 am

December 19, 2018 at 09:00 am | News

Legend of Big John™ commercial -- Screenshot via Chicken Licken SA on YouTube

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) of South Africa has banned an advert by popular fast food chain Chicken Licken on the grounds that it makes fun of the struggles of Africans during colonialism.

The video, which is set in 1650, depicts a young man by name John Mjohnana a.k.a. Big John, leaving his village for an exploration to satisfy his hunger for adventure.

During the solo expedition on his boat, he shoves off attempts on his life by a jaguar, a shark, a whale and a giant squid before finally docking in Holland in 1651 where he declares it his territory and names it Europe much to the amazement of the onlooking white people.

A complaint about the commercial was lodged to the board by one Sandile Cele claiming it “makes a mockery of the struggles of the African people against the colonisation by the Europeans in general, and the persecutions suffered at the hands of the Dutch in particular.”

In a response, Chicken Licken claimed the commercial was in no way making a mockery of colonialism on Africans as alleged.

“As a South African brand, Chicken Licken, is acutely aware of the need to uplift the South African spirit. And that is the place from which the commercial stems, to show South Africans that Chicken Licken believes this country has all the potential to conquer the world and rewrite history from an African perspective.” The statement partly said.

The board, though acknowledging the commercial was purely fictional and intended to be humorous, however, rejected their submission and ordered for its withdrawal in its current format with immediate effect.

“While the commercial seeks to turn the colonisation story on its head with Big John travelling to Europe, it is well-known that many Africans were in fact forced to travel to Europe in the course of the colonisation of Africa. They did not leave their countries and villages wilfully. They starved to death during those trips to Europe and arrived there under harsh and inhumane conditions.” The board argued.

Take a look at some reactions to the ban on social media: 

Watch the video below and share with us your thoughts. Was the decision to ban it too harsh or was it the right call?

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