In 1972 a picture appeared in a South African magazine called Scope, which was a bit like a “Playboy light.” In this particular picture, a shirtless black man was embracing a white woman. As one would imagine, in South Africa at that time, such a picture was taboo.
The Publications Control Board in 1972 wanted the specific edition banned and put forward the following reasoning:
“[Youth], both white and non-white, is prone, if not eager, to follow trends of license and promiscuity current in other places, and they may very well be encouraged herein by such an open example of what is described as being ‘with it’ to disregard the provisions of the Immorality Act…”
The board continued as follows:
“The photo of the white girl and the Negro is objectionable in that it portrays intimacy between black and white persons … It is harmful to public morals in that the photos [deal] in an improper manner with scant or inadequate dress and physical poses. It is calculated to stimulate sexual desire in the male youth by means of these suggestive poses … These provocative photos are considered to be indecent or obscene and likely to deprave or corrupt minds of young people.”
In 2012 the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) came up with the poster (supra). The sentiments conveyed by various persons sound something like this:
“At a stage when the country needs higher levels of morality, the DA launches a poster clearly promoting sexual immorality.” – Theunis Botha said (Leader of the Christian Democratic Party)
“Walglik! Wys jou, als moet vandag swart op wit wees. Excuse the pun.” – Leonore Wells Treurnicht
“Disgusting! Shows you that everything today must be black on white. Excuse the pun.”
“Ja mense dis hoekom SA in sy moer is. Al wat ek sê is katte en honde paar nie saam nie.” – Henning Janse van Rensburg
“Yes people, this is why SA is so messed up. All I’m saying is that cats and dogs don’t breed together.”
Above we have 2 views:
1. That the picture is far too racy for the “upstanding morals” of the South African nation.
2. That race has to be an issue.
I have to ask. Has anybody on Facebook or Twitter or any other platform ever written ANYTHING about Lux, Vaseline, Nivea, Radox, Dove or Yardley ads?
Why is it that a seemingly naked woman getting into a bath or, in the case of a particular Radox ad, a man’s buttocks are on full display is not at issue, but when a political party does it, it becomes an issue?
Those bigoted on race could blame it on the sex, those too prudish to blame the sex merely said “disgusting.” But then, what made me proud, was that an enlightened few could comment something along the lines of “to each his own.” I really respect such individualist thinking.
I think that DASO was being particularly testy on this matter and I think that they did succeed. After 40 years of “progression” and “development” in our society, they have shown us that South Africa sounds not so very different from the way it did in 1972.
Though I don’t particularly agree with what was said by bigoted moral or racial supremacists, I respect their right to say what they think.