The ATKV is still as committed to the Pendoring Advertising Awards as when the organisation first conceptualised the competition in 1994, says Japie Gouws, Managing Director of this cultural organisation.
“We are extremely happy about how the awards have grown in size and popularity,” he says. Thus the ATKV will remain a staunch supporter of the awards in its capacity as a gold sponsor.
Gouws says Afrikaans might be under some pressure in the business world, but the awards prove that there is a growing understanding that every rand spent on Afrikaans advertising buys more than the product or service being advertised – it is an investment in the loyalty of the Afrikaans consumer.
He says this appreciation has often struck him in his dealings with large companies. “Afrikaans is doing well,” he says, with specific reference to financial advertisements in Afrikaans dailies. “It is a well-established language and business people realise its value, but we also take cognisance of the fact that Afrikaans is one of 11 official languages that are all important to the people of South Africa.”
He says the latest census shows 13.5 per cent of the South African population is Afrikaans-speaking, but the figure probably trebles taking into account the number of people using it as a second or third language. These users are also consumers of Afrikaans advertising, and enjoy it too, as the widespread appreciation for the “Met eish” Klipdrift advertisement has so pointedly showed.
The Truly South African category of the awards is one of the aspects contributing to the popularity of Pendoring. Provided the concept is truly South African, advertisements in any one of the 11 official languages may be entered in this category. The top prize in the category, the Umphetha (Zulu for “the best”) prize of R20 000, has created a lot of buzz and excitement since its introduction last year.
“In this way the opportunities we create for Afrikaans at Pendoring are extended to other languages,” says Gouws. “Broadening an English-oriented industry” is how he brands this category. He says embracing the wider community is to the absolute benefit of Afrikaans.
He quips that “hamba, Forrest, hamba”, a translation of “run, Forrest, run”, from the film Forrest Gump was the only sentence in an advertisement for Maponya Mall in Soweto among the 2010 Pendoring finalists he grasped, but adds about the positive reaction to this category there can be no doubt. “Afrikaans loves being part of an extended language family and our inclusivity is creating a lot of goodwill,” explains Gouws.
Inclusivity is a trademark of all ATKV projects, he says, as is illustrated by the fact that there are three branches of the cultural organisation in Soweto. The school choirs participating in its competitions come from every possible background and Zanele Ontsheng of a high school in Riebeeckstad near Welkom was the best user of Afrikaans – as a home language – in her age group in the ATKV’s annual debating competition in 2010. (There are also categories for second and third-language speakers in this countrywide competition.)
The creativity that is the very essence of advertising is also close to the ATKV’s heart. “Culture is creativity,” says Gouws. It is a source of pride that so many of the employees of advertising agencies, who are English to the core, have Afrikaans surnames. “It is important to us to support Afrikaans creative people by our involvement with Pendoring.”
He reckons Pendoring stays current and adapts to this progressive industry every year. “We are sexy, we embrace quality and our prizes are great.” And nobody leaves the party early, he laughs. “We are quite proud about what Pendoring is achieving.”