The month of March was a busy one for the Nation Brand as it was jam-packed with activities and initiatives for Brand South Africa. As the official marketing agency of the country, it was a hive of activities executed domestically, on the continent and internationally during the month.
In response to the gloom and doom around youth matters stemming from the student protests as well as the release of high youth unemployment figures by Stats SA, it was time to find some form of inspiration to motivate citizens. It was with this in mind that we identified the popular 947 School Invasion partnership with our Play Your Part initiative. The intention was to enable schools to play an active role of promoting active citizenship and showcasing the spirit of ubuntu, particularly during trying times. We had 5 days to visit 5 schools, in order to create 5 unforgettable experiences for the school learners to look forward to from Monday 6 March to Friday 10 March 2023. In the 5 days, we visited: Reddam House Waterfall, Alberton High School, Uitsig High School, Jeppe High School for Boys and Edenglen High School in this particular order.
Needless to say, the pupils lost their minds and burst into a huge uproar of excitement when they saw 947’s Anele, Frankie, Thembekile and Cindy walking onto their school grounds at the various schools. The invasions were beaming with positive energy and interaction where we saw Uitsig High School’s very own teacher, Annamarie win the Suzuki R10 000 Pop Quiz and enjoyed a full view of the rugby team’s war cry in collaboration with some of the teachers. https://www.instagram.com/p/Cpg63w3o1CH/
Furthermore, we were inspired by Jeppe High School’s Head and Deputy Head boys, who spoke to Anele and the Club about what their responsibilities at the school are and what the school means to them. As if that was not enough, the school’s Marimba band serenaded us with a beautiful performance that will live with us for a long time. True to their school’s Latin motto ‘Forti nihil difficilius’ which means ‘Nothing is too difficult for the brave’, Jeppe High School for boys reminded us of what it means to be South African. After a jam-packed School Invasion tour across the Gauteng province, we are proud to say that the spirit of Ubuntu and unity is engraved in the hearts of our future Kings and Queens.
Second on our agenda was the fifth edition of the Human Rights Festival which was held on the 25th of March 2023 at the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. As per norm, the festival was a two-day event of hard-hitting dialogues, networking sessions, exhibitions, film festival, poetry, children’s festival, the Curated maker’s market and many other exciting features.
This year, we hosted a dialogue under the theme ‘Moral Regeneration – Inspiring new ways to rejuvenate social cohesion’. A panel discussion around the theme was conducted with the help of IAF brand’s Bulelani Balabala, Pathfinder’s Glenda Setshedi and Brand South Africa’s very own Toni Gumede. Our panel facilitator, Rorisang Thandekiso did a stellar job of bridging the engagement gap between our vibrant audience and the panelists on stage. The interactions proved that South Africans are not passive in finding new ways of rebuilding our country’s moral fibre. The concerns they expressed around the various social challenges and how they link to basic human rights was a sight to behold. https://www.instagram.com/p/CqNmWo1r9j8/
Next up was Brand South Africa’s Global Markets Unit travelling to Ghana to host three significant events in the market in partnership with the SA High Commissioner, based in Accra, the Honourable Ms Grace Mason. Events kicked off on Tuesday, March 21st, with the Global South African Reception at her residence, in commemoration of Human Rights Day. Speaking at the Reception, Ms Mason said; “In South Africa today, it is a public holiday and a human rights day. This is the day we remember the atrocities that were committed by the apartheid era, where 69 South Africans that were protesting were killed. . . so on this day we say never again and to say that South Africa has a constitutional democracy, we have a bill of rights enshrined in our bill of rights”. She added that her Global South Africans are excited to be living and doing business in Ghana, indicating that over 500 South African are doing business in Ghana.
We also engaged in various engagements and conversations like the Africa Dialogue and Investment Summit to discuss opportunities presented by Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, that will enable free trade in the continent through tourism, media, arts and culture.
Brand South Africa also joined The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in hosting a series of state visits during March. Ahead of the 5th SA Investment Conference in April 2023, where President Cyril Ramaphosa’s target of R1.2 trillion over five years has been exceeded, the country is committed to forging and strengthening bilateral relations to attract more trade and investment, and explore collaborative opportunities.
At the #RSATanzaniaForum, Her Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan was welcomed onto South Africa shores for her first State Visit. “We believe that this State Visit will further strengthen the bilateral political and economic relations between our two countries and enhance the work of the BNC,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
With Belgium being South Africa’s second biggest trading partner and accounting for 18% of our exports, a Presidential visit and business forum was the order of the day. Speakers on the day included His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister Ebrahim Patel (the DTIC), as well as H.E. Elio Di Rupo, Minister-President of the Walloon Region.
Brand South Africa through its programmes, supports the nation’s investment drive and recovery plan.
To wrap up the month, we had the release of the State of The Nation Brand Report event on our agenda. This report, in our view, is a key guideline for anyone who wants to have an in-depth understanding of South Africa whether from an international or domestic perspective. The purpose of the event was to unpack the findings and insights that define our country’s affairs in their diverse nature.
On March 30th, 2023, we assembled a panel of experts to engage on their research for South Africans to have a better understanding of the report. The panel consisted of: Jan Wegelin of MarkData and African Response, José Torres of Bloom Consulting and Dr. Leroi Raputsoane of Productivity SA. Our esteemed panel was moderated by seasoned broadcaster, Ashraf Garda, who did justice to our audience.
As Brand South Africa, we want our fellow South Africans to know that our interventions are a never-ending process that lives beyond the month of March. As such, we are making a call to South Africans living in the country and in the diaspora to assume a role of active citizenship to help steer our beloved Mzansi to greatness.