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Condom TV Spot Pulled in Kenya After Religious Outcry

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Health, Media & Journalism, Religion, Women & Gender

A public service announcement [1] promoting condom use to combat the spread of HIV and other diseases in Kenya was recently pulled from the airwaves after the TV spot caused an uproar among the country's religious leaders.

The advert, which shows a woman advising her married friend to use a condoms while engaging in an extramarital affair, was sponsored by Kenya's health ministry and foreign assistance agencies USAid [2] and UKAid [3].

Kenyan Health Minister Peter Cherutich told the BBC [4] that the spot was created because up to 30 percent of married couples have partners outside of their marriage. The United Nations estimates [5] about 1.6 million people out of the country's population of 41.6 million are living with HIV.

Christian and Muslim clergy condemned the advert as encouraging infidelity.

Despite the advert being pulled from TV, it is still available on YouTube:

The Squared Factor [6] blogger called the public service announcement “spot on” in a post titled “Sikio la kufa halisikii Condom” [sw]. The title, which loosely translates to “a dying ear does not respond to a condom”, is a play on the proverb “a dying ear does not respond to medication”:

I will not beat around this bush. This mpango wa kando [extra marital affairs] bush business. And I frown at those clamoring for the recent TV ad titled weka condom mpangoni [use condom when engaging in extra marital affairs], to be withdrawn from the airwaves.

The message of this particular ad has unexpectedly tugged at the hem of society’s skirt: if you can’t abstain or commit to one partner, then use a condom if you care about your loved ones. Caring in this context alluding to avoiding pre marital pregnancies, and contracting STI’s- among them HIV and the related adverse effects it has on the family and society at large.

Kenyans took to Twitter to discuss the TV spot under the #CondomMpangoni [7] hashtag, with many coming out on both sides of the argument.

“victor-MUFC” (‏@victorbmc [8]) wrote that he didn't like the advert:

‏@victorbmc [9]: That ad is nasty RT @MacOtani [10]: Wow so now that the #CondomMpangoni [7] advert has been removed from our screens we are safe huh?! #SwalaNyeti [11]

Mathias Ndeta (‏@MNdeta [12]) told Kenyans who are against the spot to face up to the truth:

‏@MNdeta [13]: In my opinion the #CondomMpangoni [7] ad should stay put, those against it are just pretenders, let's face the reality.

“z’ Ghost Buster” (‏@TheMumBi [14]) warned:

‏@TheMumBi [15]: We stick our heads in the sand too much. Amen to the #CondomMpangoni [7] ad ..got us talking about stuff we avoid talking about.

Paul (‏@M45Paul [16]) argued that the decision to pull the advert ended up promoting it even more:

‏@M45Paul [17]: Banning #CondomMpangoni [7] ad is getting it more airtime that it'd have got in normal runs.

“Pastor Wa” (‏@Pastor_Wa [18]) advised:

‏@Pastor_Wa [19]: And for everyone that watches that ad, your heart must be provoked enough to say, ‘I'm better than this’ #CondomMpangoni [7]

“Kizzy K*” (‏@boobykizzy [20]) asked:

‏@boobykizzy [21]: #condommpangoni [7] =>what happend [sic] to dignity, morals and the likes? should media be blamed? should we address this issue?

Finally, “AverageKenyan” (‏@AverageKenyan [22]) noted:

‏@AverageKenyan [23]: #Condommpangoni [7], we are not in denial, the complex African matrix doesn't support public declaration of infidelity however much it's a reality