Sunday, September 20, 2020


Dear Readers,
         In spite of the fact that it is well known that hair is quite a sensitive subject for Black women, Volkswagen has chosen to screen an advert on DStv that shows a Black woman being belittled about her hair by her hairdresser, in front of an audience of several concerned women in the salon. 
         This has been done to promote the totally unrelated subject of Volkswagen’s service plan.
         It made its debut digitally in April and started airing on TV in August this year. It is still appearing. Unlike the TRESemme` hair care one that caused such a storm, this ad does not come across as obviously racist, although some might argue that they would not have filmed a white women being treated in the same way.
         It consists of a Black woman sitting in a chair in a salon while her Black hairdresser is doing her hair. The conversation goes like this:
Hair Dresser (HD): What’s news, what’s news girl? I want to hear everything.
Client (C): So I started a new job and ….
HD: And then…
C: Hmm?
HD: Did you do your hair recently?
C: Um,well. It was my sister’s wedding and you were busy, I had to make a plan.
At about this point the hairdresser, clearly angry because the woman had her hair done elsewhere, starts pulling the woman’s head around and combing her hair roughly.
HD: Okay.
C: It was just one time.
The woman continues to be roughed up by the hair dresser as a row of women sitting on chairs opposite her look on with concerned looks on their faces.
HD: It’s fine.
C: I didn’t mean anything.
HD: I said it’s fine.
Man standing at a dryer: No it’s not fine.
C: Yno…..
Man: It’s not fine.
C: If only maintaining my hair was as easy as maintaining the value of my Volkswagen. With EasyDrive vehicle plans you get service per schedule from qualified Volkswagen experts. It ends with the hairdresser pulling her head as roughly as ever to one side and the client saying Hay!!

The Client started off looking relaxed and happy, but her expression changed as she became increasingly alarmed at the way her head was being pulled around and her hair was being was being very forcibly combed.

*   *   *

         When I saw the ad on DStv I put three questions to Dr Robert Cisek head of Volkswagen in South Africa. For such a large, international company this vehicle manufacturer’s public relation leaves much to be desired.


Dr Robert Cisek

I phoned its head office in Uitenhage; said I was a journalist and asked to speak to Dr Cisek or his PA; or to be given their email addresses. I was told I could not have these and that I should send my inquiries to this email address: .This turned out to be no support at all, although my emails were addressed to Dr Cisek.
         After getting four “we’ll be in touch” emails with Andrew Shaw’s name on them, when I asked when I could expect a reply, I finally received the answers to my questions. I only got them after I threatened to write that Dr Cisek had no comment to make, unless he or some other senior person at Volkswagen responded by noon the following day.
         They came from Andile Dlamini, Head of Group Communications, Volkswagen, SA. My first question was: “In view of the fact that it is well known that hair is quite a sensitive subject for Black women; what was the thinking that justified belittling a Black woman in a salon to advertise Volkswagen’s Service Plan?” The other two have been answered elsewhere in this post so it’s not necessary for me to repeat the actual questions.
         Dlamini replied: “Volkswagen is aware of the public dialogues, debates and cultural sensitivities around the topic of hair. We believe, together with our creative partners, that our ‘EasyDrive’ advert depicts a universal insight around the relationship between hairdressers and their clients that has no attachment to any specific race, culture, gender or political view. The intended message behind the ad is not to claim that any particular hair type is difficult - or easy - to maintain, but rather what the relationship one has with their hairdresser can be. The ad draws a parallel between this relatable relationship and the one between our customers and service teams. It’s a story about ‘relationships’ and pride in one’s workmanship and the importance of ‘loyalty’ to people who care about their service.’
         “With close to 300 000 views on YouTube alone,” he said, “the EasyDrive ad has been well received by our consumers with the majority of responses finding the analogy highly relatable. We understand that opinions may vary and we are always open to engaging with our customers and audiences on their feedback, positive or negative, to understand all the possible ways our ads are perceived.”
           He added that they had had “No’ complaints about the ad.“As the People’s Car, Volkswagen believes in always putting people first and so we do not support or disseminate advertising messages that are derogatory to any culture, race, gender or group.”


Jon, a Consumer Watchdog.

P.S. If Volkswagen is not more careful that freedom of speech advocate Julius Malema, and his EFFing followers, could be DEMANDING free cars for every female member of their Party.
P.P.S. The TRESemme`ad row resulted in 400 Clicks stores that stocked it having to close briefly, because of widespread protests by the EFF. 

P.P.P.S. This is what Mark Rayner the CEO of MultiChoice the owner of DStv had to say about this ad.






Monday, September 14, 2020


 Dear Readers,

          Having governed South Africa for the last 26 years our African National Congress headed by President Mr ‘I’m shocked’ Cyril Ramaphosa has just realised that they haven't got the morals of an alley cat.  Sorry it is worse; my cat has asked me for Cyril’s address so he can complain.

      Like all good presidents, he has compiled a code of ethics for his ANC members. Here they are in order of importance.

1.    Thou shalt not play cards unless you have at least two Aces up your sleeve.

2.    Thou shalt not build more than 20 houses for yourself and your relatives with Government money, without first getting my permission in triplicate.

3.    Once suspended, thou shalt remind me at least every three years that you are still on full pay so that my government can keep track of who is working and who isn’t.

4.    As Ministers thou shalt not wear sinister, black mafia style hats, especially if you don’t take them off when you come inside, as they frighten the little children of our followers.

5.    If you head the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs thou shalt not be allowed to have affairs with the tobacco mafia, as it upsets non smokers and gives our Government a bad name.

6.    Thou shalt not think that if you get suspended from a top government job you will automatically be sent to one of our embassies in some exotic location to spend the rest of you life on the cocktail circuit. Unfortunate, we just haven’t got enough embassies.

7.    Thou shalt not receive monetary presents without making sure that you get enough for our most senior comrades to receive their usual Christmas presents, in keeping with their status.

8.    Thou shalt not run a municipality as if it is your own, private fiefdom unless the ratepayers can be made to contribute to our party.

9.    Thou shalt not be granted a banking licence unless you can prove you have the right  .FF…friends to run it.

10. Thou shalt not go off the accepted electricity grid without telling me, because I can’t stand another ‘shock.’ This is particularly relevant as I thought I had fixed Eskom when I headed that special team appointed to do just that, several years ago

11. Thou shalt not be allowed as a Minister of Transport, or in fact as head of any other ministry, to be on Twitter because it has come to my notice that a certain party has spent so much time adding up the number of followers that he claims to have, that most of our stations have disappeared, and I’m ‘shocked’ to have to tell you that the lines seem to be going as well. No doubt our DA will be crying out, “Hard lines for the country but not those fat cats in the ANC,” which would be a completely unjustified dig at me, as usual, when I am only trying to do my best for our country. I know one thing for certain, and that is that in my next life I’m coming back as a ‘scrap dealer,’ or better still a ‘card-sharp.’

12. Thou shalt not complain if you haven’t received your social grant. It’s not my fault that there are so many of you, and in any case my government has done such a good job in the past to make sure you got what you deserved that if we missed one or two of you now you know who to blame - apar…., sorry this COVID-19 thing. You can thank me for getting rid of the previous minister in charge of this because she could have easily said you had got your grants when you hadn’t.

Yours the Honourable Cyril, the Great Reformer.

P.S. I’m sure the DA and that other effing party will have a job improving on this code of conduct, which is bounded to be adopted by other governments around the world.

*    *   *   *

Well dear readers, as he usually does, Cyril gave me the first chance to break this to our nation knowing how I have always been such an ardent supporter of his party, what’s it called again, that owes so much to apartheid. It hasn’t yet been able to come up with a better excuse for buggering up, almost completely, a perfectly functional country in less that quarter of a century.

Have fun,