Orange withdraws advert, apologises to Batswana

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Orange Botswana has made a hasty retreat and backtracked on the advert that it had placed inviting revelers to its annual Letlhafula cultural event. The advert, which was placed a few days ago, invited the ire of locals who felt the language used and the portrayal of a small girl alongside the message was akin to abusing children for commercial ends.  

The advert features a small girl clad in traditional/cultural regalia with the inscription ‘Nnana tsholetsa makgabe reje bophose! A setso ruri’. Loosely translated, it means “raise your skirt young girl so that we enjoy the view! What a culture indeed!’ The nation went berserk on seeing such and attacked the morality of Orange in preferring such words alongside such an innocent girl.

In their apology Orange Botswana said “Thank you very much for your feedback with regards to the Orange Letlhafula advert, it has been duly noted and well received. As Orange Botswana we would like to acknowledge and profusely apologise for the unfortunate misrepresentation of the girl child in the event advert. The advert was never meant to discredit our national efforts in preserving the dignity of the girl child. Orange Botswana remains committed to supporting the protection and empowerment of the girl child.

As always, the Orange Letlhafula event is meant to celebrate and preserve our culture as Botswana for future generations. Following your much appreciated feedback, we have taken the following measures to remedy the unfortunate incident:

1. All our stores will remove all the current posters

2. The tagline and artwork will be changed with immediate effect

On a final note we thank Botswana for pointing out this oversight. We are an organization that listens and acts. We thank you once again for your continued support.”

The 2018’s Orange Letlhafula, an event that celebrates the country’s culture and heritage, has been slated for the 5th of May at its traditional home, BotswanaCraft.

The event, which is in its 18th year running, the family-friendly, fun-filled day includes local food, dance and music, with most in attendance dressing up in their finest traditional regalia.

The event has grown in popularity over the years – so much so that the 2017 edition was sold out a week in advance – with this year’s show being held under the theme, ‘Nnana tsholetsa makgabe reje bophose! A setso ruri’.

At the time of going to press, the Orange Botswana management was locked in marathon meetings trying to find a way out of the inferno that they had found themselves in.

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