Christian Nerf’s Polite Force began as a response to the fraud, sexual assault, murder and many other charges made against South African law enforcement in the fight against a state of corruption (Hick, 2014). This prompted the launch of the first performance of ‘Polite Force’, documented by Kathryn Smith, in 2002 outside the World Trade Centre in Johannesburg.
Members of the Force dressed in hats and vests with the word “POLITE” embroidered in the same fashion as the South African police force, and patrolled the streets offering help to civilians in the area.
In 2019, Polite Force participants patrolled the streets of Cape Town as part of Nerf’s residency at A4 Arts Foundation. These "POLITE" hats were produced as part of this residency.
South African artist Christian Nerf (b. 1970) is currently a PhD candidate at Liverpool John Moores University.