To launch Knorrox’s new positioning “the strength to take on tomorrow” we came up with the story of Nomandla. “Nomandla” is a common isiXhosa name for girls – it means “the one with strength.” In our story Nomandla is sent out by her father to find their family’s missing bull and in order to persevere and succeed in her journey, she is given a meal made with Knorrox by an aunt in the village. 

Images courtesy of Marty Bleazard

Culturally and traditionally, the role of finding missing livestock is carried out by boys or men in the villages where gender roles are strict and never overlap. In this world, women and girls cook and clean and mind the garden, and men look after livestock and plough the fields. By having a girl perform the task that’s traditionally carried out by boys and men, we were able to subvert traditional gender roles and present a new perspective on female strength in a way that was fresh, relevant, and authentically South African. 

As we all know, one of the pillars of strength in our lives are our communities. And for this piece the community is centered by the various characters who assist Nomandla in her task, including the aunt who invites her to dinner, so that she can regain her strength with a Knorrox-prepared meal to continue with her search the following day. 

The second cultural stereotype that the commercial subverts is that of the patriarch of the traditional family: the father. In “Nomandla” the father is given range and three-dimensionality, which challenges traditional norms that tend to depict the African father as a tyrannical figure who lacks vulnerability and emotion. “Nomandla” is able to re-imagine traditional masculinity in South Africa by re-formulating the father as a caregiver, and in so doing the piece hopes to inspire South African men to be more open and caring for their loved ones, their daughters, and their communities.

To tell the story in a truly authentic way, the commercial was shot in Mdumbi village in the Eastern Cape, and most of the characters in the story were cast from the village itself. These two considerations were important for the commercial in terms of showing South Africa the side of the country that’s often forgotten in mainstream discourse, and to remind ourselves of not only our roots but also of those cherished communal instincts that make us the people of Ubuntu.

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