MASVINGO – An ad by Mambo’s Chicken that appeared to mock ousted MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe a day after she was allegedly slapped at the party’s chaotic congress sparked outrage on Monday with many people calling it “offensive and disgusting” and accusing the eatery of glorifying Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The Nando’s copycat is known for finding humor in every situation, but judging by the backlash it received on Twitter, making fun of victims of gender violence, especially women, proved not funny at all.
“Huyai Tikupei Huku (Come get some chicken),” the burger ad said in bold type, with K(h)upe sneakily highlighted to stand out from the word “Tikupei” and a subtext that read “Monday blues don’t have to SLAP so hard.”
The connection between the commercial and Khupe’s alleged violent treatment was not lost on many people who would have none of it.
“Whoever manages this handle needs to be dismissed. Such tasteless, demeaning, disgusting and tasteless advertising should not be tolerated,” blasted one Twitter user going by the name Idzai Murimba.
“Banter around GBV issues is a no, no. @mamboschicken needs to put a stop to such insensitive advertising. Please pull this down, it’s offensive.”
“Thunder fire & your chicken. Gender based violence must fall. Nonsensical tweet and advertisement,” said Lynne Stactia.
Another disgusted objector, Mapondera Fungai A. said, “I’m more concerned by people who continue to patronise this brand’s eateries in the face of its tasteless ads. Disgusting to say the least.”
Even Human Rights Watch (HRW) director for Southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga weighed in tweeting, “Mambo’s Chicken must not joke about violence against Madam Khupe. Stop gender-based violence. Not funny! Say Sorry!”
Still, some defended Mambo’s Chicken and put a different spin to their messaging.
“Violence yei (what violence?), they are laughing at Khupe’s loss. Pataurwa zvembama here apa (no physical violence was mentioned),” said one Simon Chiruka1, proffering that the eatery was merely making fun of Khupe for losing leadership of the MDC-T to rival Douglas Mwonzora.
“Hatisi taakuzvinyanya here (this is an exaggeration).”
Another Mambo’s defender also commented: “I’m surprised by all of you trying to take humor out of this joke its period and it’s funny as hell hapana pambonzi munhu ngaarohwe (the commercial does not incite violence.”
Despite the widespread condemnation and given the seriousness of gender-based violence against women and children in Zimbabwe, Mambo’s Chicken kept their ad running.
They even insensitively posted a laughing emoji while bantering with commentators, attracting rebuke from one critic who responded: “What’s funny?”