Korean Air on Monday apologised for having vaunted the “primitive energy” of the Kenyan people in an advert for the soon to be opened Seoul-Nairobi route and withdrew the ad from its website.
“Fly Korean Air and enjoy the grand African Savanna, the safari tour, and the indigenous people full of primitive energy,” the airline said.
The advert provoked a barrage of reactions from Kenyans, most of them amused rather than furious.
“Thinking of lion hunting today and maybe some elephant baiting to deal with my #PrimitiveEnergy,” tweeted one Kenyan.
“I use #PrimitiveEnergy every morning to rise from my bed,” another Kenyan said.
Another Kenyan, more cynical, wondered if the advert was really an error on the part of Korean Air or a marketing strategy destined to get people talking about the new route which the airline will fly three times a week starting June 21.
After hundreds of tweets were addressed to them, the airline apologised.
“Regarding our recent promotional notice of Nairobi, we are checking on this issue accordingly. We sincerely apologise for this situation,” it posted on its website.
This is the second time in a week that east Africans have got worked up over comments considered insulting or condescending.
Last week it was Uganda’s turn after the Spanish press revealed that Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy had sent an SMS urging his finance minister to stand firm in negotiations with the European Union and saying: “Spain is not Uganda.”