Johannesburg: A leading South African fast food chain has withdrawn a hugely popular TV advertisement which poked fun at Zimbabwe`s President Robert Mugabe as "the last dictator standing" after the company received threats from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