Johannesburg: A leading South African fast food chain has withdrawn a hugely popular TV advertisement which poked fun at Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as "the last dictator standing" after the company received threats from a youth group loyal to the Zimbabwean strongman.
The advertisement by Nando's showed Mugabe as the last dictator on earth having a Christmas dinner alone while he reminisces about earlier fun activities with deceased leaders
Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Idi Amin and Mao Tse-Tung.
The hugely popular ad is the latest in a chain of irreverent tongue-in-cheek but very funny commercials that has seen Nando's win a number of awards.
Although the ad is being dropped in South Africa and not in neighbouring Zimbabwe, threats against the independently- run outlets and staff of Nando's in Zimbabwe have prompted the company to discontinue the campaign.
"We have noted with concern the political reaction emanating out of Zimbabwe, including perceived threats against Nando's Zimbabwe management, staff and customers", Nando's
said in a statement.
Under Zimbabwean law, an insult to Mugabe or undermining his authority in anyway is considered a serious offence.
"We feel strongly that (removing the ad) is the prudent
step to take in a volatile climate and believe that no TV
commercial is worth risking the safety of Nando's staff and
customers," Nando's said.
But the ad is still being viewed by million on YouTube
and has gone viral.
The ad shows Mugabe and Gaddafi engaging in a water
pistol fight, with the dead Libyan leader brandishing his
notorious golden AK-47 rifle.
Mugabe also sings karaoke with Mao and holds deposed
former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin atop a tank.
Earlier this week, militant youth loyal to Mugabe, who
has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since independence more
than three decades ago, called for a boycott of all Nando?s
First Published: Friday, December 02, 2011, 19:18