Five days ago, First National Bank, released a new brand campaign called “You Can Help.” It was a message from the youth of South Africa, voices that are often silent. It was a message carried out to every South African who was prepared to watch and listen, and it was a message the bank believed would inspire a nation.
I watched it three days ago and it inspired me. The message carries everything I believe in, love, faith, hope and forgiveness. Then I kind of forgot about it. That was until today. South Africa began watching and political parties started taking offense.
I do not partake in politics. In fact, I hate politics. It doesn’t interest me and usually it just gets my back up with the sometimes (read mostly) incompetent people trying to run this country. I prefer to focus on what’s good in this country and what’s right about this amazing country I live in. Politics, mostly, has no place in my life.
Suddenly, political parties, sorry let me correct that, a political party and its youth branch started crying foul, saying that the bank was making random and uncalled for accusations against the government. The party is appalled that the bank has blatantly attacked them. When I watched the video I heard no mention of any political party. To me the party crying foul whiffs of a guilty conscience. It doesn’t actually just reek of guilt, it slaps you in the face. I can’t help but laugh as I shake my head. It’s not the first time. In this country, everything that is said or done is a direct attack against this particular political party. The finger of blame never stops getting pointed and more often than not it’s the same party doing the finger-pointing.
Since the video was released and a political uproar ensued, the bank has stated that the statements made by the children in the ads were not scripted or edited and that it never intended to attack the political party or our government. During the making of this campaign, the bank spoke to over 1300 youths between the ages of 10 and 22 years from all around the country and from all walks of life. In a news article earlier today it was quoted as one child saying, “If I was President for a day, I would make South Africa safe for children, women and teens who are abused.” Another 10-year-old boy added the following, “I get scared when people are killing each other.” In heart-rendering words the bank said that our youth are “losing their innocence, not to apartheid, but to the many social ills and tragedies that came after it.”
When I watched the video three days ago it brought tears to my eyes but gave me hope at the same time and it inspired me. So many of us want the same thing for this beautiful country and our youth, despite the negatives that no doubt many countries around the world deal with too, share a belief that this is their home and by working together we can achieve our goals.
South Africa’s Bill of Rights states that it “is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom and that the state must respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights in the Bill of Rights.”
When I read the section entitled “Freedom of Expression”, which includes
- Freedom of the press and other media;
- Freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
- Freedom of artistic creativity;
It appears a certain political party is throwing a tantrum and in their usual spectacular style, stomping all over people’s right to freedom of expression and throwing their toys all over the place. I hope FNB doesn’t crumble under the pressure and pull the ad campaign. It’s an age-old saying, the grass is greener on the other side. The truth is, it’s not and as the saying goes, the grass is green where you water it.
This is our future speaking.
There is hope for our country.
There always has been.
I will never run.
My feet are firmly planted here on South African soil.
I believe our countries future is in good hands.
You be the judge.
What we need is more people to stand up for what they believe in. We need unity and forgiveness. We need love.
Let our youth gather strength, let their voices be heard.
I don’t know how long this ad will be available for viewing. Maybe it will be gone tomorrow. Maybe it will stand the test of time. I hope it’s the latter.
We are here to take a stand ~ because we can!
Viva FNB. Viva our Youth. Viva South Africa.
My beloved country.
There will be a day…..
When South Africa will only shine.
You just have to believe.
In Nelson Mandela’s words, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.” Let us join hands in helping to build this beautiful South Africa we all dream of.
Kids picture found here