By Thoko Modise



In arguably its most successful summit since inception, the 11th annual Proudly South African Buy Local Summit & Expo, themed ‘Growing the Economy and Creating Jobs through Localisation,’ closed off on a high note with a keynote address by the newly appointed Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Paul Mashatile. In only his second public appearance since assuming office, the Deputy President, standing in for President Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed over 300 guests at the inaugural Proudly South African Presidential Localisation Dinner at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. He emphasized the importance of supporting local products and businesses and its ripple effect on the economy: “We cannot have economic growth without localisation.”



It was a night of locally inspired splendour with the MCs SABC’s Leanne Manas proudly wearing a dress by Biji, who designed former Miss Universe Zozi Tunzi’s winning dress, co-hosting with Proudly SA Chief Marketing Officer, Happy MaKhumalo Ngidi, wearing Rubicon. An evening where stand-out local designers, Imprint, Fabrosanz, MaXhosa, Ledikana and many others were the standard order of the day. Thus, the Deputy President, who confessed that he wasn’t wearing a local designer, made a commitment: “When we get to Cape Town . . . Minister Patel is going to arrange for me to get a suit, not only made in South Africa but with South African material.”



Proudly SA pulled out all stops, attracting all the relevant decision makers in the host province and nation-wide.  The expo, which preceded the dinner, was opened by Minister Ebrahim Patel of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), on Monday, 27 March 2023. The 2023 Buy Local Summit & Expo, which featured more than 200 high-quality home-grown goods and service providers who showcased everything from pharmaceutical, local fashion, and health products, to stylish furniture and electronics for home and office use, delicious food and drink products, jewellery, and textiles, was visibly supported by all the relevant stakeholders.


“This expo clearly demonstrated to South Africans the talent, the industrial capability and the products that South Africans can produce,” said Minister Patel.



But it wasn’t all show. As the Minister noted, “the Buy Local Summit & Expo also provided an opportunity for people to talk about the challenges they face and discuss potential solutions for the future of the South African economy.”  The two-day programme was rich with inspiration and content, with panels focused on challenges and opportunities to unleash the local economy.



While the expo showcased mostly emerging local businesses, leading South African corporate giants,  including the Absa, Aspen, OBC Group, Mr Price Group, Twizza , Sasol, Aspen, Sizwe IT, Southern Sun, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and SA Breweries, among others, committed to supporting the localisation movement, and to contribute meaningfully to building South Africa’s economy, alleviating unemployment, and retaining existing employment opportunities.



In reflecting on the success of the 11th annual Proudly South African Buy Local Summit & Expo, Eustace Mashimbye, CEO of Proudly South African, summed up the importance of the initiative, “We are delighted with the turnout for the Summit. We have always said the summit would expose locally produced products as widely as possible. In this way, we can save jobs in those companies and get them to create much-needed new job opportunities. We believe that we are succeeding in our mandate.”



A good evening and two day-summit that naturally concluded with a proudly South African dessert of baked Amarula cheesecake, milk tart, rooibos crème brulee, koeksisters and carrot cake – and entertainment by comedian, Mongezi “Tol A** Mo” Mahlangu, award-winning Mafikizolo, and a Life Achievement award in absentia for veteran actor John Kani who is in the US for the Los Angeles premiere of the Netflix movie, Murder Mystery 2.  No better way to drive and close a local agenda.



Thoko Modise is the General Manager – Communications at Brand South Africa