South African adsIn celebration of South Africa’s 21 years of freedom and democracy, it is perhaps relevant to look back at the iconic satirical South African ads of the last two decades that just would not have been possible without a constitution that secures our freedom of speech and expression in a democracy.

In celebration of our 21 years of freedom here are our Top 5 examples of South African ads that are only possible because of our democracy:

#5 Nando’s ‘Diversity’:

As relevant today as it was when it was first aired a couple of years ago, this was the first ad we can remember that physically made us cringe. Not because it’s a bad ad, but that it hits the nail on the head of a heated national political debate that rages now as it did in 2012.

#4 Chicken Licken ‘The Bunker’:

Chicken Licken generally shy away from too much controversy, but this parody of the fear before South Africa’s very first general election is a classic.

#3 Nando’s ‘Blue Light Brigade’:

Sometimes you think that it might not be a bad idea to elect the Nando’s marketing team to a higher public office. But satirical political advertising is what they do best and from it they’ve built a truly South African brand loved by all.

#2 Vodacom ‘The Dictator’:

One of our personal favourite South African ads of all time from back when Vodacom was a little edgier than they are today.

#1 Nando’s ‘Last Dictator Standing’:

Because what would a democracy be if we didn’t keep our friends in check with our cheeky ads.

If the measure of a democracy’s health can be taken by the controversy that its advertisers are willing to take on to build a commercial brand to a broad spectrum of people, then South Africa is on the right path.

As long as we are willing to see our problems through the lens of a sense of humour, the next 21 years looks rosy.

More: Why is a cheeky Nando’s ad from 2012 popular again – BBC