For more than 40 years, I have cause to remember my high school Afrikaans teacher, Naas Ferreira … and especially the chair leg he used to beat recalcitrant schoolboys into line. If you think that "abuse" may have turned me into an antisocial serial killer – I'm sorry, it didn't. But what it did do was ensure my head was filled with a great understanding for Afrikaans and equipped with a huge storage file of "idioms and expressions", some of which seem quaint by today's standards. Afrikaans is one of the easiest languages to learn and, as someone who learned...
For more than 40 years, I have cause to remember my high school Afrikaans teacher, Naas Ferreira … and especially the chair leg he used to beat recalcitrant schoolboys into line.

If you think that "abuse" may have turned me into an antisocial serial killer – I'm sorry, it didn't. But what it did do was ensure my head was filled with a great understanding for Afrikaans and equipped with a huge storage file of "idioms and expressions", some of which seem quaint by today's standards.

Afrikaans is one of the easiest languages to learn and, as someone who learned his Afrikaans in what is now Zimbabwe, it still amazes me that more English-speakers don't praat die taal.

That old Boer-Brit enmity is going to take a long time to bury, I'd guess. So, as someone who appreciates both history and language – and who has had to use Afrikaans frequently in my journalism career (you try talking to right-wingers using the Queen's English…) – I am particularly taken by the latest campaign for the Afrikaans advertising awards, the Pendorings.

The concept – "English never loved us" – is one which will resonate with native Afrikaans speakers … and also with speakers of our indigenous languages, who are often treated to the same sort of linguistic arrogance by English speakers.

Some years ago, Pendoring began recognising contributions to advertising in South Africa in other languages and this shows in the multifaceted latest campaign. It was conceptualised, I am informed, by winners of last year's Umpetha (indigenous language) award winners Sanele Ngubane, Thule Ngcese, Rosemary Mabasa and Carl Willoughby of TBWA Hunt Lascaris.

This is their rationale: "Only 8.4% of South Africans speak English at home. If you speak English as a second, or third, or even ninth language, you've had moments in your life when English has run out without warning. One minute you're speaking out through your nose, the next you're suddenly out of English bundles and switching back to your mother tongue for protection. English will show you flames. That's why we say: English never loved us."

What a great way to put it – and what wonderful, simple, yet thought-provoking illustrations have been used in the print executions of the campaign. Orchids for Pendorings and for everyone involved in the campaign. This soutie, mlungu, whatever, loved it…

Orchids and Onions: Pendorings use a creative method of conveying a simple message


Screen shot of aware.org.za video

The cigarette and booze bans have been wreathed in a fog of misinformation – particularly when it comes to the science and logic behind them. This doesn't help with getting buy-in from the public and promotes the exact opposite – defiance – than that intended.

I have previously applauded the good work being done by aware.org.za – which is supported by the alcohol industry – to encourage responsible drinking. And the latest campaign – called Inbtwn (in between a drink and a better tomorrow) – says that now, more than ever before, our irresponsible drinking choices can have consequences. The problem is that they have used deception to push that good message.

The ad shows what it claims are: "Real Instagram stories from before lockdown". No, they are not. They are cleverly put together to resemble Instagram content and all show drunk people misbehaving. Why would ordinary people give you permission to steal their videos and their images and use in a campaign which shows them as antisocial and self-destructive?

The situation of binge drinking and the evils brought about by excessive consumption of alcohol is bad enough. It doesn't need a lie to make that point. So, aware.org.za, you get an Onion from me.

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