The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has found the Chicken Licken reverse colonialism advert too spicy and has therefore decided to pull the plug on it, claiming it went against social cohesion because “it trivialises an issue that is triggering and upsetting for many South African people”.
ARB made the decision to ban the advert on Friday following a complaint from a viewer, Sandile Cele, who deemed the commercial to be making fun of the “colonisation by the Europeans in general, and the persecutions suffered at the hands of the Dutch in particular”.
He filed the complaint last month.
The two-minute advert, however, has enjoyed over 127000 views on YouTube, with 867 largely positive comments from the platform, while only 82 users gave it a thumbs-down.
The commercial gives a twist to the story of Dutch national Jan van Riebeeck, who arrived in Cape Town in 1652 and became the administrator of colonialism in the region.
The advert takes viewers on a journey of Big John (aka Mjohnana), prince of the Motsamai tribe, who was seen leaving his village on a boat in 1650 with the aim of satisfying his hunger for adventure.
In its ruling, the ARB said: “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 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. Atrocities suffered by Africans under colonisation are well documented This experience can never be rewritten differently and cannot be trivialised” said the ARB.
Chicken Licken said it did not intend to offend viewers. “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.”