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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Sonke Gender Justice says companies behind advertisements with racial undertones must be held accountable

5 September 2022

Sonke Gender Justice says companies who create advertisements with racial undertones, must be held accountable for their actions. This was heard during the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) inquiry into racial discrimination in the advertising industry.

The Commission’s  Gauteng provincial office is leading the inquiry which is aimed to address and avoid the publication of adverts that carry racial undertones in South Africa.

The Commission said that it was deeply concerned about the industry after several submissions of racial discrimination were given to the institution by the public, advertising agencies, retailers, and regulatory bodies.

Regional Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist at Sonke Gender Justice, Sandra Mangwiro says duty bearers need to be held accountable.

“Why it’s critical that this regulation comes up is because this is not the first, second, or the last time that we see such adverts that we see to have taken no thought of the implications that they carry when they go out. And I’m sorry is not enough, which is often what is given when advertisers are called out in terms of their adverts and the implications that come with the adverts. The transformation that we are consistently talking about in the country also has to come up with mechanisms that we hold duty bearers accountable and I’m sorry is not enough,” says Mangwiro.

Black voices in advertising

Black-owned advertising agencies have formed their own association in the wake of calls to urgently transform the industry.

Nearly 30 years into democracy, and the Black Agencies Network Association (BANA) has now been formed.

BANA Chairperson, Groovin Nchabeleng says they also want black voices in the industry to be heard.

“The advertising spend in South Africa is close to about R58-billion and it influences close to 60 million South Africans, their mindset, their behaviour, so it’s a very critical sector in our country by just influencing the adult population in South Africa. So it’s very critical that it transforms across the board and that will include the casting, the production, the creating, the media paying, the media buying, and all the aspects of advertising,” says Nchabeleng.

Source: SABC

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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