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South Africa: Celebrity-obsessed generation forgets its history?

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Each of the nooses in this room at the Apartheid Museum near Soweto represents the execution of a political prisoner. As the history of the struggle against Apartheid fades away in the minds of South African youths, it begets a question:

The stories of people like Steve Biko and Albert Luthuli, who struggled for a non-racial and democratic society and suffered brutality, exile, prison and in some cases paid the ultimate price, are being replaced by western celebrity and hip-hop pop cultures, a South African marketing company reveals. TBWA\Hunt\Luscaris’s mandate is to design an advertising campaign to help get people interested in visiting the struggling Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg — a monument to the rise and fall of apartheid.
Apartheid Museum- A history forgotten is a future lost. Luthuli ‘Princesses’ (SOUTH AFRICA 2010)

“We had a suspicion that a lack of interest in the Museum was part of a larger societal problem”, the company states in its press release. A mere sixteen years after the fall of Apartheid, our history andthe lessons it can teach us were being systematically forgotten. So we decided to expose the reality. And start a conversation. After all, the most important step in addressing a problem is knowing that there is one.” So we took to the streets and interviewed our youth directly. We simply asked them to identify a series of famous people. First popular culture icons and lastly a famous anti-apartheid leader.

Our suspicion turned to reality. Over 86% of the people interviewed easily recognized the popular figures and failed to identify the South African anti-apartheid leader. The company plans to turn the interviews into television, radio and viral adverts, to be launched on the days leading up to Freedom Day, a national holiday to mark our nation’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

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