DOWN BUT NOT OUT
After what the Gaborone City Council called public outcry, the Naked Truth Billboard at the Bus Rank intersection which advertised The Voice is down.
A silhouette of a naked woman on the billboard did not go down well with some members of society who apparently complained to the city council leading to a decision to have it removed.
But was there really anything wrong with using a silhouette of a naked woman? We spoke to a cross section of people, including head of city council legal department, Advocate Linchwe Tlhowe who had this to say.
“The law states that if a billboard is objectionable in style and presentation and the public complains, then it must be pulled down. So in this case we just enforced the law because there was an outcry from the public that the billboard was encouraging nudity. While The Voice was emphasizing what its stands for, the picture of the naked woman did not add value, the tag line ‘The naked truth’ is bold enough to convey the message. Besides the paper has never featured a naked woman in its famous page 3, so why use one in an advert.
Kesebonye Seabelo, Chief Executive Officer of A.Tshekane Outdoor media
“It’s a creative piece of art but I knew even before putting it up that it will cause discomfort amongst conservative Batswana. Yes, we have beauty pageants where ladies parade in bikinis and the traditional dancers who will be semi-naked but at least the basics would be covered. In this case, buttocks are bare for all to see and this is exactly what caused the problem.”
Keabonye Ntsabane, Gender Links Botswana Coordinator
“We need to respect women and never expose their nakedness. I am sure there are other better ways to re-enforce that The Voice bares the naked truth in terms of its content than using a naked woman, we are totally against that. And besides we all know that there are men who might get aroused by merely seeing a naked woman and this was likely to cause rape cases as there have been cases of men claiming that the women invite rape by wearing short skirts. I am also told that some people were going in front of the billboard hoping to see the front part of the naked woman so it was in the best interest for all of us for the billboard to be removed.”
Ndaba Nkomo, General Manager, Horizon Ogivly Advertising Agency
“There was absolutely nothing wrong with that billboard because it stood for the values of The Voice, exposing the truth for all to see and read. The billboard was a typical example of thinking going against the grain and it’s sad that people did not fully understand the concept.
Jeff Ramsay, Government spokesperson
“We might not have an advertising regulatory body but community standards should come into play in such cases. The billboard was in the open for all to see including children and I am sure it was creating awkward situations when families drive past and children ask about it hence the complaint from the public to have it removed.”