Campaign: Umshini Wakho

Client: Gun Free South Africa
WPP company: Y&R Cape Town

In the run up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the South African Police Service held a gun amnesty to help reduce the large number of illegal weapons in circulation. Y&R Cape Town worked with Gun Free South Africa and Art South Africa to raise awareness of the amnesty and the dangers of owning an unlicensed firearm.

To illustrate the fact that with so many guns circulating the streets, there is a bullet out there with every South African’s name on it, over 15,000 bullet cases engraved with common South African names were scattered in the streets of Cape Town. A flier rolled up in each case detailed the dangers of owning an illegal gun and the specifics of the Amnesty program. Train commuters on busy routes were issued with two travel tickets; one actual ticket and one representing a one-way ticket to prison for 15 years, the usual conviction for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

To further promote the amnesty, the popular Zulu call to arms ‘struggle’ song used by the ANC during apartheid, was re-recorded editing the lyrics to call people to disarm. Y&R published and sent a letter to President Zuma asking him to stop singing Umshini Wami (‘Bring Me My Machinegun’) and to rather sing Umshini Wakho (‘Bring Us Your Machineguns’) instead. The campaign created some controversy in the press and got the attention of the President’s office.

Gun Free South Africa believes the campaign helped remove over 32,000 unlicensed guns and 348,000 rounds of ammunition from the streets of South Africa. The campaign was awarded the Bronze Loerie in the Ubuntu category, an award aiming to recognise the positive influence of brands on the social and physical environment.

View the video below

Umshini Wakho Umshini Wakho