African solidarity and camaraderie reignited
Brand South Africa wrapped up a media tour during which journalists from African media houses visited some of the country's key infrastructure sites in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban. The tour profiled the value chain from production to export. The tour also highlight the opportunities for intra-African trade.
While the sensational focus on politics and politicians continues, South Africans have been steadily building a nation, inspiring new ways, as they overcome the many challenges of a transforming society.
Transformation requires an understanding of the past and the present to create a vision for the future.
Freedom Park in Pretoria articulates a narrative of the compounded impact of first colonialism on South Africa, and then apartheid. It presents an in-depth and meaningful image of the history of South Africa as it seeks to heal the damage on the South African psyche, of the unnatural superiority and abnormal inferiority that seems to afflict the society.
It provides a more accurate, balanced and factual account of the South African story which had become distorted through racism and oppression.
Freedom Park has managed to create a space for forgiveness to manifest while ensuring that the dehumanising brutality and injustice of apartheid is never forgotten but continues to serve as a sober reminder that ‘freedom wasn’t free’.
This is also the narrative of South Africa that Brand SA projects, while holding up a mirror to the current affairs shaping the country.
The issues around flying the flag correctly and delivering a correct rendition of the national anthem are important; however Brand SA has a deeper role to play in defending the hard fought freedom and to guard against leading South Africa down the road of triviality.
Apartheid was a crime against humanity. It was fueled by fear and terror and was protected and propagated by organizations, institutes and businesses that had a vested interest in perpetuating this crime.
It seems the same for the crime situation in South Africa. Crime pays. It has created products and services industries worth billions and motivation for funding for all manner of anti-crime organizations and has almost reached a level where the one cannot do without the other leading to a false sense of being.
An example of the level of fear and terror crime creates is how readily South Africans are told that geysers and other appliances must be switched off to conserve energy, yet no mention is made of the thousands of kilometres of electric fencing that not only use up energy but is also a blight on the abundant natural beauty of the country.
South Africans are friendly, well-mannered people who can laugh at themselves and express themselves freely. They have committed themselves to overcoming the crime of apartheid in the most humane and civilised way possible - that is why South Africa has been termed a miracle nation.
Multi-national corporations that originate from South Africa and that have spread all over the world should reflect this attitude and behaviour. They should encourage competition, embrace innovation and admire and acknowledge entrepreneurship.
In Africa, especially, these corporations should be sensitive to the role of Africans in the liberation of South Africa.
While South African business open operations on the African continent, many African businesses are finding it difficult and almost impossible to break into the corporate hegemony in South Africa and as this realisation takes hold many are questioning South Africa’s intention for an integrated Africa.
It has been suggested that people who have been victims of xenophobia in South Africa should have an opportunity to testify to begin a healing process and to enlighten South Africans of the role that specifically African countries played in the liberation of South Africa.
Many even contributed financially, donating a percentage of their monthly salary to the liberation movements. They even sacrificed their security by hosting and housing many South Africans who fled into exile to escape the brutality of the apartheid regime.
This dynamic interaction during the liberation years serves as a platform to further enhance relations and re-ignite the camaraderie and solidarity among Africans.
South Africa’s future is bright. Several economic policies have taken root.
The automotive development in Rosslyn in Pretoria is a tangible example. Component and motor vehicle manufacturers have seized the opportunity to create an automotive city that will produce motor car parts and accessories.
The outcomes and benefits of this development have the potential to bridge the gap between corporate social responsibility and industrial protest action.
The promenade of the Durban beach-front and the Moses Mabida stadium complex has been a boon for the city’s tourism sector.
The developments of the Dube Trade Port and the King Shaka International aerotropolis are serving as a catalyst in the rapidly transitioning KwaZulu-Natal province.
The almost half a trillion budget for infrastructure development seeks to modernise and integrate South Africa’s transport system and will ensure the ease of movement of people, goods and services.
There is a strong belief in the people of South Africa and support for its success from all over the globe. South Africa can take comfort in the fact that all countries and nations face challenges.
However this should not make them complacent but spur them on to new heights.
The task for Brand South Africa is to recognize this belief and develop associations and partner with stakeholders with similar commitment, and hold up a mirror that projects a true reflection.
It is understanding the truth of where we are that we can implement appropriate strategies in the quest to become a developed nation. K. Bhana