TopTV will screen fast food franchise Nando's advertisement which has been described as xenophobic, the pay channel said on Wednesday.
“We are prepared to push the envelope and use our platform to promote freedom of expression and to encourage debate and conversation among our diverse subscriber base,” said TopTV's air-time sales spokesman Jean Meyer.
He said the aim was to give TopTV subscribers the opportunity to choose if they wanted to see it or not.
The advertisement begins with people jumping a fence at one of the South African borders, followed by a voice-over which says:
“You know what's wrong with South Africa? It's all you foreigners.”
Then it proceeds to show different races across the country disappearing in puffs of smoke.
Eventually all races disappear with only a Khoisan left. He then turns to the screen and says: “I'm not going anywhere. You (at)&*$# (swear word blocked out in advertisement) found us here.”
Meyer said TopTV applauded the franchise for tackling “thorny” issues in the country.
“The positive message contained in the advert, with the line, 'Real South Africans love diversity' is a sentiment that all South Africans should embrace,” he said.
The advertisement was refused air-play by the SABC, M-NET, DSTV and e-tv.
The SABC was reportedly meant to screen the advertisement earlier this month, but pulled it because of its “xenophobic undertone”.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told the Cape Times that the advert would incite attacks on foreigners.
“Nando's may say that it is trying to promote diversity, but what we are concerned about is that the public might interpret it differently.”
A print version of the advertisement was subsequently published in the Sunday Times.
It showed the clips of the video in sequence.
A banner at the bottom of the full page advertisement read:
“Unlike our broadcasters, we're giving you the right to choose.”
In December last year, Nando's pulled a television advertisement titled “last dictator standing”.
It portrayed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe dining alone on Christmas, at a dinner table set for past dictators including Muammar Gaddafi.
It showed an actor playing Mugabe reminiscing on old times with former dictators.
A Zimbabwean youth group called for the franchise to be boycotted. It also warned that if the advertisement was not discontinued, Nando's would face “punitive action”.
TopTV said the “diversity” advertisement would be aired as of Thursday across nine of its channels. – Sapa