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#OrchidsandOnions Special Section

#OrchidsandOnions: Riky was perfect for bank

Polished: Well-spoken rapper could have been headed for better things; Tshwane council's social media team gets the nod for lots of giggles.
Riky Rick in African Bank's campaign
Riky Rick in African Bank's campaign

This is a column I never thought I would write; one in which an Orchid is awarded posthumously.

When I first saw the latest African Bank commercial – which is part of its brand repositioning campaign – I was struck by the way in which the main player in it, rapper Riky Rick, carried himself.

I am no rap fan and although I had heard of him in passing, this was the first time I had paid attention. And he was a total surprise, polished, confident, well-spoken. Perfectly chosen to fit in with the bank’s new idea that audacity is what gets you where you want to be in life. Not taking no for an answer. Not worrying that the odds are stacked against you.

As Riky – real name Rikhado Muziwendlovu Makhado – recounted the story of African Bank founder Dr Sam Motsuenyane, you could feel the respect behind his words.

“Who starts a bank with just R70?” he asked, marvelling that this is exactly what Motsuenyane did.

And, in doing so, the African Bank founder was, whether he knew it or not, implementing the philosophy so elegantly put by Bob Marley in Redemption Song: “None but ourselves can free our minds”.

That spirit of commercial liberation was in the air before the later political one in South Africa.

Sadly, it appears that Riky, the guy who, I would have thought, had so much to live for, couldn’t free his own mind from its emotional and psychological demons.

Yet everybody was still shocked to hear of his death.

Even though I never knew Riky, I had a gut feeling that he could have been headed for better things - and could have been a wonderful role model for young kids in SA.

And he was the perfect brand ambassador for African Bank.

He’s gone too soon, yet the work he and African Bank did will live on, should the company choose to continue to flight the ad, which it may not do.

Still, he deserves an Orchid, as does African Bank and the agency which put it together, Black River FC. May that help ease your pain a little…

Social media comedy reigns

The team running your company’s social media accounts can either make or break your brand. Seldom, though, do you see – in this country at least – a social media team getting talked about because of what they post on behalf of their brand.

That is still happening for the City of Tshwane, whose people have been giving the inhabitants of cyberspace many a chuckle over their comments around the city’s hard-assed electricity cut-off campaign.

Tshwane is owed billions of rands by electricity and service account defaulters – and their decision to run a very public ‘name and shame’ offensive on social media certainly saw many people paying what they owed.

Sometimes, the wrong people were identified as miscreants – as were the sundry government departments whose buildings are rented and whose landlords defaulted on municipal accounts.

But there were plenty of giggles, too.

The Tshwane social team posted a photo of the welcome board outside the Sefako Makgatho Medical Sciences University (formerly Medunsa), remarking: “Thank you for paying us in full. Over R1 million settled.”

When the department of correctional services paid up, the chirp was: “100% corrections. Well done!”

At the North West Development Corporation office, the power was cut and then allegedly illegally reconnected. Tshwane social said: “Nou sal die Poppe dans!! [Here comes trouble] If the reconnection was done internally the official(s) will be charged criminally and internally and the sanction will be a dismissal.”

From petrol stations to hotels, to shopping centres and even posh, upmarket developments, the Tshwane cutters worked with energy to cut off the energy.

And all the time, the admonishing, quip-making social media team was there. There were some complaints on Twitter that this sort of outing was unfair but by far the majority of people who commented were in favour of the campaign.

Orchids to Tshwane and its social media and communication team for not only publicising the campaign – which saw many defaulters paying up ahead of the dread visit– but also bringing a bit of humour to a serious subject.

*Note that Bizcommunity does not necessarily share the views of its contributors - the opinions and statements expressed herein are solely those of the author.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.

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