This is not Africa






The Silent War is a social awareness campaign about rape in South Africa illustrated and designed by Greg Richards.

As there are six colors in the South African flag I developed six different areas of rape to raise awareness towards. Each poster carries a different colour of the flag. The six areas are: child rape; why men rape; woman’s chance of being raped versus learning to read; South Africa being the rape and HIV capital of the world; women are primitively referred to as fair game by men; and the frequency of rape incidents per day. For each image the person is looking directly at the viewer to create a direct communication of the campaign’s message.” writes Richards.

OK but where is the racial diversity? One the issues with rape in SA is that yes, although it does affect the black population at a higher level than other groups, it doesn’t mean that it is exclusive to black people in this country. It’s the same way that people think that black people are the face of HIV/AIDS. This campaign also seems to over-simplify the issue, from what is shown above.

“Still proud to be South African?” – urgh, that tag line gets to me. I may not be South African by birth but I’m very emotionally attached to this country and honestly, I just don’t like the worth and pride of South Africans being linked to this issue. There are many reasons to be proud of being South African and I haven’t met a single person here that goes around boasting about rape or HIV/AIDS rates in this country so I don’t see why there’s a need to question their pride.

Also, something about the way these ‘people’ were drawn doesn’t sit well with me. They all look like they were inspired by a UNICEF or UNHCR handbook. 

why wouldn’t people be proud of their country ? yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s a beautiful country with beautiful people !  as you said it’s not like people are proud of the rape issues so much that they have included them in their national anthem or what not… I feel like this campaign is somehow racist. Those people are just black people who look kind of sad/abandoned, so it’s like those are the only people here who get raped and rape each other : black people. “Strangely” when they want to claim good things, it’s like there are 200 billion white people in this country, but rape? oooh, the blacks. There’s no set profile for rapists or people who get raped, but do all these folks look alike?

hmm thats weird, i thought there were white people in SA too, or rape just happens to black people living in SA now? what? the artist is white? supriseeeee

To add to the responses above, the writer is obviously ignorant of many dynamics in South Africa, and South Africans themselves have had more powerful and meaningful anti-rape campaigns, some even headed up by Charlize Theron. So this is opportunistic, if nothing else. Another little known fact, or seldom reported fact is that in many rural areas, black witch doctors (a.k.a. sangomas) have been stupid and irresponsible enough to tell their patients that sleeping with a virgin (including babies) is a cure for AIDS. This was a major trigger in child rape a few years ago. So the moral of this story is, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep your elitist bull to yourself. South Africa has a lot more going for it than just rape and crime, and if you bothered to take a holistic view of the country, you wouldn’t find any reason to include that supposedly catchy phrase about being proudly South African. If you have money to waste on advertising campaigns, use it to expose to corruption and greed in the ANC-led government. That is by far the biggest threat to democracy and service delivery in South Africa, not crime, or rape, although both of these are strongly opposed by numerous civil groups and society as a whole. 

Sensationalistic bullshit. That’s all this is. What irks me even more is that it’s the colonialists that want to teach us how to undo what they entrenched through the policies that they established in South Africa that gave rise to apartheid and gender inequality in the first place. Talk about selective amnesia, you arrogant pricks!

(sorry, I needed that rant!)

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