Original Research

The motif of billboard texts of adverts in four cities: Apropos of Bantu and African languages

Nhlanhla Maake
Inkanyiso | Vol 15, No 1 | a30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ink.v15i1.30 | © 2023 Nhlanhla Maake | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2023 | Published: 20 December 2023

About the author(s)

Nhlanhla Maake, Private, Independent researcher, South Africa


Advertising, which is but one link in the value chain of marketing, is the hallmark of the postmodern world, ubiquitous and dominant in all public spaces and spheres of life. A random count of billboards, posters, and electronic and digital advertisements can attest to this without recourse to systematic empirical evidence. However, there is a need to interrogate the basis of this status quo, its ‘superstructure’ and ‘base’, and address the impact of advertising on African peoples and their values; how they are influenced and directed in public sphere in African localities, where their values should be predominant. The impetus that inspired the thematic exploration of this article is that in public spaces where indigenous languages and values should logically be dominant, they are marginalised and patronised, in ways that are cynical and are an instrument of capitalist motives and agenda. This article seeks to explore manifestations of this marginalisation and undermining of values of speakers of Bantu and other African languages in advertisements, a genre that is so ubiquitous that it imposes a subliminal crisis among indigenous languages speakers, who are demographically in the majority on the African continent. The impact of this genre pervades spaces in languages, in style, diction, and undertones that have an ideological impact in environments and settings where African languages and values are expected to be predominant, or at least should indigenously and logically be strongly anchored. This premise is the base of my inquiry.

Contribution: This dominance is achieved by means of visual and textual images of advertisements that have sought to ‘sustain alienation’ and establish subordination of the consumer.


advertisements; African languages; values; coloniality; false; imaginary needs

JEL Codes

D63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement; M37: Advertising; M38: Government Policy and Regulation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


Total abstract views: 236
Total article views: 235

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.