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Social media outrage at South African politicians’ attack on bank

The “You Can Help” campaign launched by First National Bank (FNB) has angered the African National Congress (ANC) and its affiliates who lashed out saying FNB attacked the state through its “treacherous” campaign.

The You Can Help campaign was launched by the South African bank on Thursday (January 17). The opening words of the campaign begin: “We are a great nation, but sometimes we lose our way, we forget how far we’ve come. So, to remind us who we are we asked those who are seldom heard, the children of South Africa.”

Kelly Baloyi, a 17-year-old learner at Naledi Secondary School, in Soweto, Gauteng, then featured in the campaign. She delivered a speech, in which she shared her thoughts of her country. “The challenges before us cannot be solved by money or petty politics, protests or violence,” she said.

Baloyi’s speech is among a series of videos in which youths share their opinions, some of which have been removed. The ANC has reacted negatively towards the You Can Help campaign, calling it treacherous and said it was “disappointed” with it.

“While we believe that people are entitled to their views, we don’t accept that young kids should be used as proxies to articulate political views espoused as in the case of the FNB advertisement,” said Jackson Mthembu, ANC spokesperson.

Since the ANC’s bad reaction, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter as well as YouTube have been abuzz with most South Africans condemning the ANC’s reaction.

Alex Eliseev (@alexeliseev) tweeted: “So ANC can’t swallow criticism from: artists; a banker; big business; media; and now a bunch of children. Is that about right?”

Akz Bhogi (@AKZR) tweeted: “The whole #FNB vs #ANC debacle has become a joke. If you wanna make a change either switch banks or vote next year…”

Sihle Ngobese (@SihleDeLaKubuza) tweeted: “#ANC suppresses public debate! Criticizing them either constitutes treason (#FNB), or its unAfrican (@LindiweMazibuko), or racism… *sigh*.”

Some of the South African celebrities also shared their opinions on the matter. Pieter-Dirk Uys, better known as Evita Bezuidenhout (@TannieEvita) tweeted: “Since when is a South African child’s opinion treason? #fnb #ANC.”

Trevor Noah, stand-up comedian (@TrevorNoah) tweeted: “So I guess the ANC is moving all its accounts to African bank?”

On Facebook, extensive amounts of comments pertaining to the ANC vs FNB scuffle can be found on FNB’s page as well as various media pages.

On FNB’s Facebook page, Sifiso Clement Nxumalo wrote: “South Africa belong[s] to all that live in it whether citizen or foreign. We are entitled to our own view. I believe FNB is the co founder of Innovations culture. ANC is against democracy that it claims its own. I wonder what is it that its offends the ANC on the FNB advert [sic].”

On the same page, Jacqui Pirzenthal wrote: “I have ‘liked’ your page to tell you that I absolutely, unequivocally love your latest ad campaign. I saw it for the first time just before one of the 7pm news bulletins and it made me cry. I sincerely hope that you do not withdraw it. It is beautiful and it is the voice of the youth of our nation.”

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