South Africa has banned a television advert by the fast-food chain, Chicken Licken, for its ‘Big John’ burger that showed a black man discovering a foreign land and naming it ‘Europe’.
South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board ruled that the advert trivialized colonialism which the board says is “not open for humorous exploitation”.
The advert features a modern narrator, a customer at a Chicken Licken outlet, retelling the story of a black man known as Big John, who leaves South Africa in 1650 to sail around the world, as the video traces the explorer’s journey.
After many adventures and overcoming various threats, Big John comes ashore and meets whit inhabitants.
“Hola MaNgamla (Hello white folk). I like this place, I think I will call it… Eu(You)…Rope…”, he completes it as Europe after seeing a white man with a rope around his neck.
But the Board says colonialism is upsetting for many South African people to be treated as trivia.
“The reality though is that colonisation of Africa and her people was traumatic. The legacy of colonisation, which is a sensitive and divisive topic, is one that is not open for humorous exploitation.” ruled the board, adding that Africans did not leave voluntarily due to colonisation and often starved to death en route suffering inhuman conditions.
But Chicken Licken said its ad was a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ tale about how its Big John burger got its name.
The company says”it was regrettable” that the ad was met by negative reactions from consumers, adding it was not the company’s intention to “make a mockery of the struggles of colonization and its effects on Africa and her people”.
The ad is, however, still available on the company’s YouTube channel.