Sinigurisha billboards can be misleading

Travelling on the nice Rwandan roads is usually a great experience especially if you stop to marvel at the beauty presented by the undulating hills that make up most of Rwanda.

Travelling on the nice Rwandan roads is usually a great experience especially if you stop to marvel at the beauty presented by the undulating hills that make up most of Rwanda.

There is always something interesting to see as one travels around here. It could be the determination that locals display as they dig trenches for the fibre optic cables that are meant to ease cyber life. 

Of late, my eyes are often found staring at the catchy Sinigurisha billboards that are aimed at reminding our youngsters to steer clear of ‘sugar mummies’ and ‘sugar daddies’ or technically put, away from cross generational sex.

On one side you have a school girl vehemently turning down an offer for a free ride from an older man. The other side depicts a young lad turning down an offer alcohol from an older woman.

For starters I need to point out to the young ones reading this that they should never be fooled by what others call ‘free things.’ Everything in life has got a price and in this case we could be talking about your education or your whole life. 

A free ride could result in an unwanted pregnancy forcing you to drop out of school due to new and unexpected responsibilities.

Worse still, you may contract the deadly HIV/AIDS virus. There are also significant negative results awaiting the boys who take up free offers from older women.

What I am sure of is that the price of these free things is usually much higher than the market price as economists would say. 

The intentions of the Sinigurisha campaign are indeed very noble and ought to be supported by anyone with the ability to do so. I however have a small bone to pick with the people behind this campaign.

At the university we were taught that communications in form of banners or billboards have to be made a simple and clear since people do not have enough time to look at them.

In most cases, one simply takes a glance as he walks or drives past the message. For this reason, it has to be very unambiguous so as to leave the correct message in one’s head. 

The Sinigurisha billboard that has a lady and a young boy really could have been presented in a better way. The fact that it shows the boy turning down an alcoholic drink is good enough.

The problem is that the boy seems to already be in the bar! This therefore implies that the message on the board is that boys should not accept alcoholic gifts from older ladies.

However it also seems to be condoning the presence of the boy in a bar.

I have overheard quite a number of people complaining in taxis that the billboards shows a hypocritical boy who is refusing a drink yet he is already in a bar. 

In other words, this boy should not be in the bar in the first place because this is essentially a place where alcohol is consumed.

This being holiday time, school going children should not only turn down drinks from older people but more importantly stay away from bars and night clubs.

The best way to avoid the temptation is for then to keep away from these places.

I often see young children being attracted to some of these places especially during the day because a number of them have got pool tables. Much as pool is an interesting game, the fact that its facilities are often limited to bars makes it a risky one too.

It is quite easy for a young man who keeps going to the bar for pool games, to get addicted to the game or even to start experimenting on alcohol and smoking.

Children on holiday need to find more constructive ways of spending their time instead of hanging around bars like the boy on the Singurisha billboard.
ssenyonga@gmail.com