The film’s narrative hangs on the television advertising campaigns for the company in the 1980s and 90s; Virtually unknown outside of South Africa, and entirely emblematic of the era, they were risky, of the moment and always a talking point. It is a fascinating insight into a company that has largely played it safe elsewhere in the world. Although Nando’s has a reputation for being “cheeky”; only in South Africa is it seen as defiant, a voice for the people, a chain with a strong social conscience. The film effectively illustrates the significance of the Nando’s rise to popularity and captures a lot of the spirit and energy now fondly remembered by South Africans who came of age in the era.
Ross’s film is a loving and informative slice of life inside the early years of the New South Africa and paints a rosy picture of a company that didn’t always get it right but had heart and was willing to make a stand. Perhaps too easily uncritical of the choices made by the commercial arm of the chain, it is nonetheless a charming and edifying watch that gives voice to the ordinary people and striving business owners of a country beset by assumptions and stereotypes from Britain, especially.
Guaranteed to raise a smile, and a few eyebrows, though it could have stood to dig a little deeper and present more substance alongside the confection. 'Pluck' is a pleasing watch and a worthwhile potted history of a distinct time and place.