A conservative is one who admires radicals long after they are dead.
The advert near T-Mall on Langata road presented a man with a well-toned torso and the hands of woman caressing his chest. It read: “Ni poa dame akicome first.”
The Nairobi county’s planning Chief Officers Justus Kathenge affirmed the government’s position on the matter. He said, “We received complaints from the public. Since we regulate billboards when the public perception on messages they carry does not go down well, we advise for their removal.”
Question is, was it necessary?
According to statistics by AVERT for 2016, 1.6 Million Kenyans are living with HIV/AIDS.
There were 62,000 new infections and 36,000 AIDS related deaths last year. An epidemic that is still high at a time when the prevention drugs and ARV’s are highly accessible notwithstanding the extensive attempt by the government to sensitize the people on the spread of HIV and AIDS.
A lecturer once said that a conservative is one who admires radicals long after they are dead.
Inspired by our deep belief in cultural respect of taboos. Topics like sex as often as it may be discussed between friends may not be necessarily appreciated in broader audiences.
Perhaps the weekend’s advertisement ban is a result of this ideology? Though it was an excellent pun, the words, “Ni poa dame akicome first” was deemed offensive to the public. A decision I would color very hypocritical.
Legally, the condom company could easily defend itself by saying that the sentence (in their interpretation) meant that’s important to consider the girl’s future first by wearing a condom to prevent pregnancy.
And why should they anyway?
Isn’t sex a topic discussed on social media and national television every day? Aren’t scandalous radio breakfast shows making a killing in Kenyan media right now?
And who is on the wrong, the person who advertised safe sex or the one whose mind was safely tucked in the gutter?
Stigmatization is a reality that needs to be acknowledged before the real battle against sexually transmitted diseases can be effectively won.
While the urgency to protect the dignity of our customary setting on acceptable topics that can be discussed in public and shun away westernization and its ability to normalize issues traditionally put aside as bedroom talk.
In simpler words, the advert was nothing short of creative marketing that targeted the young productive and sexually active population of the city. Did it work? I’d like to think it did.