'Last dictator' spoof angers Mugabe faithful

A satirical South African advert for Nando's is ruffling feathers in Zimbabwe

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The Independent Online

An advertisement for Nando's restaurants which pokes fun at President Robert Mugabe, calling him "the last dictator standing", has caused controversy in Zimbabwe where a militant youth group is calling for a boycott of the chain.

Jimu Kunaka, the head of Chipangano, a "brotherhood" of Mugabe loyalists, called for the South African chicken chain to remove the advertisement or face punitive action including a boycott.

The 60-second commercial shows Mugabe dining alone at Christmas, his empty table set for departed dictators including Muammar Gaddafi.

To the soundtrack of Mary Hopkin's hit "Those Were the Days", it shows an actor playing Mr Mugabe reminiscing about his times with former dictators. The Zimbawean leader and Gaddafi engage in a water fight, with the late Libyan leader wielding a golden AK-47 water pistol.

The ersatz Mugabe then makes sand angels with Iraq's Saddam Hussein, sings karaoke with Chairman Mao, and holds the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin astride a tank, in a scene parodying Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic.

The head of Nando's Zimbabwe franchise said it had not been informed of the South African television and press campaign.

Musekiwa Kumbula, corporate affairs director at Innscor Africa, holder of the Nando's franchise in Zimbabwe, said his group "strongly feels the advertisement is insensitive and in poor taste".

While the advertisement is being aired in South Africa, it can be seen by satellite subscribers in neighbouring Zimbabwe.