South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, usually very slick and media savvy, have really outdone themselves with a new campaign by its youth wing. Fresh out of leader Helen Zille’s troublesome ‘AIDS Gestapo’ views and calling the ever disgruntled musician Simphiwe Dana a “Professional Black” on Twitter, the DA now give us this poster, above.
At first it looks like a parody. One Facebook commenter wrote “I thought this was a Viagra Commercial?” More like a United Colors of Benetton photo shoot from the 90s that never made it to the billboards. But to me what’s most interesting is the tagline: “In OUR future, you wouldn’t look twice.” We’re not sure who the DA is targeting here. That voting for them means that one day South Africans won’t be the racists they assume we already are?
With comments for this picture on their Facebook group nearing 700, I could only bear to read about 20. The debate has descended into racist conservatives calling the photo blasphemous, while ‘liberals’ are left defending the campaign and arguing for the normality of an interracial couple. Others have gone down the road of arguing which racial group is more oppressed. Anyone posting anything worth reading gets drowned out by inflammatory racial discourse. Is this what they wanted? Of course. The DA has since released a statement on the page saying “Thanks everyone for the comments, both good and bad, this is what we want young people to be about — debate and dialogue … we will continue to provoke this kind of debate until we live in a society truly free from all forms of prejudice — one nation, one future.” Yes, this is called “debate and dialogue” in South Africa.
The only good to come out of any of this will be to see what parodies emerge online. A few have already shown up on social media sites. Maybe the DA can use this slogan: “Viagra politics. It’ll get you fired up quick.”