Too Well Loved to be Forgotten – A Tribute to Minister Jackson Mthembu


By Phindi Maduna

Brand South Africa learned with devastation and disbelief about the passing of Minister in the Presidency and Member of Parliament, Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu on 21 January 2021 (aged 62). In a statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated Minister Mthembu succumbed to COVID-related complications.

Emalahleni-born Mthembu realised his calling to be an activist for social justice when he was a young student in the 1970s. He dedicated his life to the fight against apartheid in South Africa and was a steadfast advocate for freedom and democracy ever since.

Mthembu has held various leadership roles in the public sector and civil society organisations over the years. He was appointed as the Minister in the Presidency after the 2019 national and general election. Following the announcement, Brand South Africa welcomed a further announcement that the entity, as the Nation Brand custodian, would be reporting to his office.

Minister Mthembu expressed a keen understanding of the importance of collaborations between various sectors in order for South Africa to be a Nation Brand that inspires its people and is admired globally.

In October 2019, he gave the Keynote Address at Brand South Africa’s 4th Annual Nation Brand Forum where he stressed how the Nation Brand rests on the shoulders of three main pillars – citizens, government and business, saying that collaborations among these stakeholders have always been key in enabling those with the country’s best interests to position the Nation Brand cohesively.

In November 2019, he was  instrumental in the appointment Brand South Africa’s new Board of Trustees. In his welcome to the new trustees Minister Mthembu said “Brand South Africa should be exemplary in applying the principles of good corporate governance. It should be a shining example in this regard. It is with that example, that Brand South Africa’s “#ThumaMina” programmes like “Play Your Part” will bring confidence back into the brand of South Africa”.

“It has been heartwarming but not surprising to witness the outpouring of tributes to Minister Mthembu since his passing. He was indeed an exceptional leader. He touched countless lives through his compassion and commitment to our country and all her people. South Africa as a well as Brand South Africa have lost an esteemed and distinguished leader. May we all draw inspiration from Minister’s dedication and commitment to the country” said Ms Thulisile Manzini, Brand South Africa’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Brand South Africa sends heartfelt condolences to his friends and family. He was a true Nation Brand Ambassador who played his part with integrity and humility.

Lala ngoxolo Mvelase.

About Brand South Africa

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.

About Play Your Part

Play Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa.  It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.

Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young.  It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.