A colleague emailed me a link to a video and highly recommended I watch it. It was a minute long so I figured it wouldn’t take too much of my time and so I clicked on the link.
The video begins with sharp zooming frames to reveal a superhero that is “born, bred and buttered” in Endaweni township.
In the first five seconds I was already captured by the quirky protagonist’s humour.
This central character is Tinqoh, a superhero, who is wearing a brown, leopard-print tank top and imbadada (sandals) – this is definitely not your ordinary ad.
He is doing some sort of warm-up when a little girl calls for help, alerting him of a fire. He immediately puts on his amour and follows the children to go stop the fire.
Consumed by the comedy I did not expect this to be a Brothers for Life advertisement.
The ad, directed by South African film director Lebogang Rasethaba, promotes conversation around HIV.
Never have I seen such an entertaining, light-hearted video about such a serious medical condition.
From putting out fires to helping children get to school, Tinqoh answers every call from his community but soon finds that he needs support himself.
When he learns that he is HIV-positive he turns to his friends for support, and they encourage him to carry on with his heroic work.
Tinqoh will leave you with a smile and a message.
Rasethaba is known for using his creative skills to tackle social issues, as seen in his other work such as Mashayabhuqe KaMamba’s music video for the song KwaDukuza. This music video addressed the issue of rape culture in taxis, a mode of transport used by a large number of South Africans.
Rasethaba said: “I want to make work that looks at the granular things and bring social issues to the forefront. As I grow and become more socially conscious, so does my work.”
Rasethaba pitched this compelling concept of a Zulu superhero who goes about his heroic endeavours.
He said one of his challenges was balancing humour and a serious topic such as HIV.