Jesus did not have his chips at Nando's

In an attempt to smooth ruffled feathers, South Africa’s churches came out in support of fast-food company Nando’s on Monday after it denied any involvement in an allegedly distasteful advertisement depicting Christ’s Last Supper.

Nando’s was recently the target of an SMS and e-mail campaign when it was thought that the fast-food giant was responsible for an advertisement using the Last Supper theme, with a slogan “Jesus has had his chips”.

The campaign urged the public to boycott Nando’s.

Investigations by Nando’s found, however, that a gambling institution was responsible for the advert.

A company manufacturing “faith chips”—casino-type chips designed to save the souls of gamblers—was also found to be involved.

On Monday, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) Molefe Tsele and a senior representative of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, Ben du Toit, met the top management of Nando’s in Cape Town to discuss the impact of the recent SMS and e-mail campaign against the company.

“The religious representatives present at the meeting are satisfied that Nando’s has no connection whatsoever with the advertisement which has as its theme the Last Supper under the slogan ‘Jesus has had his chips’,” the SACC said in a statement following the meeting.

“We accept Nando’s bona fides in this matter and are united with them in our concern about the misuse of these very powerful technological communication tools,” Ndungane said.

Du Toit said it is all about the truth and bearing false witness.

“It is part of our moral responsibility as Christians to establish the truth of information we receive before thoughtlessly passing it on,” he said.

Tsele said the challenge to corporate South Africa is to educate the people using these mechanisms.

“One of the solutions discussed at this meeting was the possibility of putting in place structures which allow the public to check the veracity of sensitive SMS or e-mail messages,” he said.

The MD of Nando’s South Africa, Kevin Utian, agreed.

“We are prepared to support a campaign which promotes responsibility. Nando’s operates in 33 countries around the world and it would be in our interest to illustrate our deep commitment to the protection and honouring of all cultures, creeds and religions,” he said.—Sapa

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