Friday, 04 March 2016 15:19

Well Intended Advert about Violence on The Cape Flats Misses the Mark

Written by Ryan Swano
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A new well-ntended cleverly produced 30 second commercial has been created to raise awareness of kids on the Cape Flats who have to live in fear of violence every day of their lives. It sadly misses the mark in more than one way.

Created by Community Action for a Safer Environment and Saatchi & Saatchi SA, the commercial was launched on YouTube on 17 February 2016 before being aired on DSTV.
The advert was flighted on DSTV channels for the first time on 19 February including M-Net, Vuzu, Channel O and M-Net Action Plus, and is expected to run for at least a month.

It is however strange that it is flighted on a service which only reaches a rough estimate of about 10% of the population. It is afterall an awareness campaign, yet it might completely miss the target audience.

Furthermore, with all of its supposed good intentions, we should also question what subliminal message this advert holds.

In it, a boy is sitting on a couch. There is shouting and the sound of a woman being assaulted. It appears as if he is watching a violent movie.
But when you see the television, it is not switched on and the boy's tearful face is reflected in the screen. It becomes clear the noise is coming from people inside the house. Then a gunshot is heard.

A voice-over says: "For children from the Cape Flats, violence is real. Don't let it shape their future."

There is one huge reservation that I have with this advert's story line.
It is depicting the incorrect form of violence.
The violence that is depicted in the video is more akin to family violence in the home. The incidence of this type of violence is miniscule to the terrors our children face on a daily basis.

Don't get me wrong. I am not discounting the scourge of violence against women and children but that is not as prevalent as the advert suggests and definitely not as widespread as the other horrific form violence our children enconter almost daily.
There is the terror of stray bullets in gang fights, gangland executions, drive-by shootings and violent robbery. Our children are afraid to go to school or walk to the shop. They dare not play outside even on a hot day.

Watch the well-inteded advert that somehow misses the mark.

The advert creates the impression that our chidren on the cape Flats have more to fear from within their homes than the real terrors outside.
This well-meaning campaign can have an effect opposite to the one intended and just further entrench a stereotype which holds that people in Coloured communities and especially on the Cape Flats have an exponentially high propensity to family violence.

This advert should have focussed on the reign of terror waged by gangsters and criminals on the Cape Flats and not create an image which singles out Coloured males to have a propensity to be woman beaters who terrorise their chikdren.

No doubt the occurrence of family violence should not be ignore and needs to be addresssed but...
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This advert with all of its good intentions has unfortunately taken that wrong road.

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