On the DASO poster campaign - Mbali Ntuli

Mbali Ntuli
25 January 2012

DA Youth federal chairperson explains purpose of controversial poster

An open letter to DA Youth members on the DASO poster campaign

Dear Colleagues,

This letter serves the purpose of establishing some clarity about the DA Youth's new DASO registration poster and the thinking behind it. This poster has, as you have all no doubt seen, caused a significant stir - for the first time ever the DA Youth is dominating the headlines and setting the change agenda in South Africa.

With all the comments, good and bad, we have achieved our goal of engaging South Africans in a frank debate about one of the most defining issues in our country today - tolerance. Our leader, Gana, has sent out a newsletter this morning going into a bit more detail about the poster itself. I want to take you a bit further back...

Established at the Federal Congress of 2010, the DA Youth has for the past two years been an organization that has both had to establish functioning party structures as well as champion issues and campaigns that are relevant and solution orientated for the young people of South Africa. You are all very aware the DA Youth has run numerous campaigns in the last two years that have very effectively highlighted issues about education, NSFAS, youth unemployment, POIB and entrepreneurship to name a few. Our ‘fixing the future' document has also acted as a wonderful road map of tangible open and opportunity solutions to the youth crisis gripping our nation.

Whilst excellent in nature and in what they proposed, none of these campaigns fully highlighted or focused on our vision for South Africa, nor did they receive the attention they deserved in the public discourse despite the serious nature of the issues they addressed.  Our youth as well as our federal party kept being accused of not tackling the one issue that people felt our party was too afraid to address, race.

It is my belief that as the youth of the Democratic Alliance we have a role far larger than that of simply rolling out campaigns or attending protests and the like. I believe that as youth leaders we have a mandate to find the courage to speak about things that really matter to all young people, whether in the DA or not. Race, whether we like it or not, still matters.

I do not believe for an instant that there is a member of the DA Youth who is not in some way tired of fact that everything that happens in this country, whether it is about our party or the greater political climate, always resorts back to race. Do not misunderstand me, some issues really do have a racial element in our country and need to be explored as such, but many do not and are constantly used to further cement already firmly drawn racial lines.

The choice for us as the youth leaders of the DA becomes simple. Do we continue to try and work in an environment which reduces our every effort to race and refuses to accept our nonracial message? Or do we, because we are unafraid and know full well that we espouse a future of one nation and one future, decide to be the first youth organization to lead the conversation on our terms?

People may have different interpretations of what a leader is but we cannot deny that true leaders have the ability, no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable a subject may be, to be courageous enough to discuss it if it is something they feel affects the very people they lead.  We have a responsibility to not only our youth voters but to all our peers. If we have a vision of a South Africa where people will ultimately be in an open, opportunity society for all we need to lead and make that vision a reality. We need to inspire young people and show them exactly what we mean by these ethos - a South Africa that wouldn't tolerate intolerance - as is the main point of this poster.

If there is anything that this poster has brought to the attention of us all it is that we need to decide as young people; do we want our generation to continue to be unable to shake race as our defining narrative? I think that this is one of those questions which our generation was going to have to answer one way or another eventually.

No matter how uncomfortable this conversation may be for some we must fight to have it as young South Africans, we fight because we appreciate that young South Africans before us had no voice and we fight because we represent so many young South Africans that STILL have no voice.

This poster was intended to start that conversation. The conversation is about race, but more than that this poster speaks to the principle of tolerance. This image could be replaced, as you may have all already seen from the parodies, by numerous others that all speak to the same principle. I have seen two young men or women, I have seen one of a Muslim and a Jewish person embracing, one of a Tamil and Hindi person and numerous others. The point is that we live in a country full of people that have forgotten how to tolerate people that seemingly don't see the world as they do.

On the other spectrum, and this is evident from the parodies and people's responses, we are living in a country full of people that already do tolerate others views. This is the voice we should be encouraging to speak, that we should be giving a platform, that we should be reassuring that it is ok to not want to confine yourself to a socially constructed box, that it is ok because there are many of us who don't fit neatly in those boxes either, many of us right here in the DA. That is who we need to be getting to believe in OUR vision for SA.

Part of addressing the issue of intolerance is about bringing people's prejudices to the fore. This is done not with the intention of being belligerent and attacking people but about maturely acknowledging that people have them and getting them to talk about it. We need to ask them why exactly it causes them so much discomfort? We must facilitate, and more importantly, lead this discussion.

People forget that this poster was intended for distribution on tertiary campuses.  That it has created such a reaction among greater society perhaps speaks to the fact that this is still such a burning issue for all South Africans. The intention was to capture our target demographic with a daring and challenging poster and motivate them to go to our DASO stands were they would find out more about what we stand for and who we are.  Our DASO leaflets containing the same image have on their reverse side everything that DASO has and continues to do for students.

It would be nice if all of the people causing an uproar about this poster felt as strongly about the fact that there are millions of unemployed young people or the struggle by students to access financial aid. Ironically the same morning the poster went out we released a statement on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), a gravy train for ANC YL members that literally spends billions of rands meant to help young people on things like flying young Cuban totalitarians around the world. Last I checked there were fewer than 30 comments on this statement.

Let us not fall into the trap of forgetting what we were trying to do here and listening to people who saw something which may have ruffled their sensibilities a bit. As liberal democrats we must allow for everybody to have their say and have an opinion. We must also allow people the opportunity to state and argue as convincingly as they can their argument. They can have their lines and we must have ours and that is simply that. We will not feel ashamed or socially bullied by some people's disapproval of a campaign that promotes what we believe in, which is tolerance.

People may argue what they want, and we will defend that right just as we defend the rights of those who do not have to accept those arguments as valid or true. We will not defend people who try to make other people conform to their views by coercion. We will not defend people who try to force others to comply with their preferences when those preferences show intolerance, unkindness, lack of imagination, failure of sympathy, absence of understanding, ignorance of alternative interests and needs in the human experience and arrogance in believing theirs is the only acceptable way. We will not defend those who try to claim a monopoly on moral judgment and who try to decide on other's behalf what is good for them.

Our party has withstood the misinterpretations of many campaigns and posters. Fight back, Stop Zuma and recently the supposed sexist poster of our election campaign. I dare say we have many more to still come. Never did WE in the party, despite such misinterpretations by people who see through their own prism of experience, waiver from believing that we were doing what we felt would ultimately be bringing about the South Africa we would all be proud to live in. This may be the first time for the DA Youth but I assure you that all the young people in this party have withstood far worse criticisms for being in the DA than being called supposedly ‘immoral' or ‘nudists'.

Thank you for all the wonderful feedback and support that you have given the campaign thus far.

I remain as always a phone call away.

Best Regards,

Mbali Ntuli

DA Youth Federal Chairperson

Source: DA Youth, January 25 2012

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If you come across comments that are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate; contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs, please report them and they will be removed.
 responses to this article

Go girl
Thanks for braking the taboo that says if you are black and young in south africa you have to be marxist,a member of the Young communist league or the ANCyL etc.,all espousing marxism in its various shades including capitalist-fascist-marxism by ANCYL, or . .more

by Nomonde on January 26 2012, 02:49
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Another smart DA leader - you just gotta love the DA - the party for people who like to think.

by Sad days on January 26 2012, 05:55
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@ Mbali
well said young lady, and may you and your compatriates go from strength to strength.

i compare this message to the ones issued by ancyl, and it is literally chalk and cheese.

we need people with a mindset that is open and wise, and . .more

by Eddie on January 26 2012, 08:04
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Hehehe, 'Born Free' to have BOER 'Boyfriends'?
Niya phambana nina (u r crazy)! Why don't we see Mmusi Maimane being 'surrounded' by white women the same way Lindiwe is always 'surrounded' by abo Ryan Kotze, Theo Bothas etc?

by Mute Fool_Makoya on January 26 2012, 09:52
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Thanks Mute Fool_Makoya for demonstrating my point
Mute Fool_Makoya is ANC and as his name says, is a moronic fool

Mbali Ntuli is DA and represents the inspiring, promising future of the New South Africa

Voters must chose the party where they fit in best. Which of these 2 South Africans . .more

by Sad Days on January 26 2012, 10:10
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Heh heh heh
That MF Makoya, you can rely on him. Behold the ANC in its raw racism.

by Pieter Schoombee on January 26 2012, 10:36
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Keep on dreaming
Facts are facts, I don't blame those who enjoy dreaming, however I dislike people who become dreamers because they stress themselves too much, look in South Africa we yearn for true opposition to challenge the ruling party, sadly the DA is misleading . .more

by Eddie Sibiya on January 26 2012, 11:29
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Poor Eddie!
Did you read the article? Surely not!
Again somebody who has horse tendecncies!!
Flaps on the eyes, as rein to hold you in place , an idiot in charge and under the tail an a___ hole!
For that other clown - Musi is not . .more

by david on January 26 2012, 11:56
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eddie, I am being honest, I will easliy join the DA to do it with a white boyfriend. who are you to judge?

by Lindi on January 26 2012, 12:49
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Friend of reality
Well, I've said & I tend to be vindicated largely because none of those who tried to attack my post ended up reminding me some of my apartheid given names viz: moron, idiot & etceteria, as I said dream but don't be a dreamer, some of you are so desperate . .more

by Eddie Sibiya on January 26 2012, 14:02
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daso picture is potrayal of slavery
when the whites who colonised s.africa invaded our country,they used to take photos of themselfs naked(obviously after sexual assault)with our sisters,the picture brings back bad memories,of white man cruelty to queens of africa!

by Bofihla Molapo on January 26 2012, 14:21
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Congratulations! You are smart, positive and a great influence in our land.

Thank you. The reason everything ends up in the "race" bucket is because so many deployed cadres are incompetent--when you put someone in a position and he does not have the skills/competence required, he reverts to playing politics. Our whole . .more

by Honkey on January 26 2012, 15:04
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very stupid
these morons are P*******

by Julius Malema on January 26 2012, 15:26
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& Eddie Sibiya on January 26 2012, 11:29
>>"It's multiculturalism that should sound in your head not sexual spree that you're yearning for." .

Why is race suddenly such a massive issue for some of the protagonists of the Freedom Charter of 1955?

Never forget: "The rights of . .more

by TheDrake on January 26 2012, 15:51
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Bofihla Molapo
Er, excuse me, but the camera wasn't invented when the Dutch arrived at the Cape in 1652. Of course the local Khoi and San may have had cameras at the time and had been keeping it secret until they could take out a patent on it.

by Jeff on January 26 2012, 15:58
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@Eddie Sibiya
No-one is asking you to give up your Zulu identity Eddie. I don't see how you read that into the poster, or what is written in the article.

by Jeff on January 26 2012, 16:00
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@Eddie Sibiya
Why are you reading this racial white minority and black majority into Mbalis missive.I am black and certainly dont believe in the misguided fascist/marxist policies of the ANC that are ruining our economy and impoverishing their own black people.The . .more

by Vuyo Hlwatika on January 26 2012, 17:51
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Correction@Vuyo Hlwatika
Should read: There are whites in the ANC like Jeremy Cronin,who are gurus

by Vuyo Hlwatika on January 26 2012, 18:00
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Strange that @eddiesibiya is a born free,after 1994,but he thinks like an apartheid dinosaur.See what witchcraft does to people.Pity.

by Jama on January 26 2012, 18:13
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Great ambition in your article
True,DA youth need to lead the ideological and intellectual terrain in defence of liberal values.After all,you are the educated,the students grappling with theory and practice.Good luck.

by Terence Malinga on January 26 2012, 18:57
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Madam's Tea Girl
Another MADAM'S TEA GIRL coming to the Madam's Rescue

How I wish that our fellow Black brothers and sisters would wake up and realize that the DA only needs them as a Black vote feeder

by Vuyo on January 26 2012, 20:52
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Madams Tea girl
How I wish that our fellow Black brothers and sisters would wake up and realize that the ANC only needs them as a Black vote feeder

by carlf on January 26 2012, 21:07
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Pure spin Doctoring
Typical politcian, she has avoided the issue altogether. Th eoverwhelming majority of complaints had nothing to do with race but rather the acceptability of the poste. Its nudity and implied nudity was the major concern - particularly as this was . .more

by Colin Fibiger on January 27 2012, 01:20
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Political Deception
Who am I? I am an African, I am inspired by the blood of King Cetshwayo that's split whilst defending my Africanness against European colonial land grabbers, Oh my God, I don't guess I am an African, I'm inspired by the passion shown by King Dinuzulu when . .more

by Eddie Sibiya on January 27 2012, 07:29
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The article clearly states that the picture is a classic marketing gimic where a controversial picture might be used to draw attention to the product like a beautifully legged lady might be used to advertise the latest model of a mercedes benz.In this . .more

by Temba on January 27 2012, 07:44
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Should read: mixed couple was used to draw attention and the product is liberal values and tolerance,except that this couple is in fact a married partnership,

by Temba on January 27 2012, 08:25
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Should read : mixed couple was used to draw attention and the product here is liberal values and tolerance,except that this couple is in fact

by Temba on January 27 2012, 08:29
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Brilliant marketing exercise
I have just seen the photo being talked about in an article in a major UK newspaper.

Well done DA - once again you lead the way when it comes to innovation and creative thinking. Meanwhile Zuma is overseas moaning yet again that it is not his . .more

by Sad Days on January 28 2012, 13:26
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Bitter Souls
@ Jama, "see what witchcraft does to people" if this is how you peceive African people, well it's up to you uncle sam, I've no doubt about myself, I am an African inspired by King Cetshwayo who raised his spear when he defended our land from colonial land . .more

by Eddie Sibiya on January 28 2012, 22:57
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My dear Eddie
First of all, try using paragraphs -a wonderful invention that even King Cetshwayo would enjoy.

As a Zulu you know that bare breasted young maidens are the norm in rural areas, so I am surprised that you find the tiny bit of flesh in the poster . .more

by Sad Days on January 29 2012, 06:03
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Sad Days
@ Sad Days, I am really sorry Baas Sad Days for your paragraphs, however you must not expect a standard six Zulu man to write a professional article at your level Baas. And I would have loved to comply Baas especially as it's an instruction Baas, but Baas . .more

by Eddie Sibiya on January 29 2012, 21:35
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Eddie,how can you say I am an uncle Sam when I have spent my whole life fighting oppression and apartheid.How can I support a socalled liberation movement in power,the ANC,who through their corruption and misguided stalinist policies are ruining this . .more

by Jama on February 01 2012, 13:59
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DASO poster
African people are the most tolerant people on the face of the earth as far as i can see,for only they can live in their own land and be second class citizens to the people who stole the land from under their feet. Last time i watch a documetry about . .more

by nev on February 06 2012, 16:25
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Yes i understand wat u all abt Mbali bt dnt xpect black people to jst acpt that we all the same whl white ppl a dominating bt its an african country. dy go to special skuls n gt bttr education y cnt al skuls be public skuls gt same education so that we . .more

by Damage on March 17 2012, 12:28
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