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The South African story

South Africa has come a long way since the dark days of apartheid. While our story began many decades ago, the walls of apartheid began to crumble visibly in the late 1980s when P.W. Botha, realising that the system could no longer be sustained in a fast-changing world, began to dismantle some of the key apartheid legislation, such as the Immorality Act, and to release some of the aging struggle icons like Raymond Mhlaba, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and others from prison.

Secret talks that were begun under Botha, held with the ANC through the still imprisoned Nelson Mandela, culminated in the early 1990s in the unbanning of anti-apartheid movements, the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, as well as the formal end of apartheid.

Following multi-party talks that resulted in the historic, inclusive, 1994 elections, the country embarked on a new path; a journey that sought to bring all South Africans, irrespective of racial, ethnic, religious, and ideological background, under the same flag.

South Africa also became the first country in Africa and one of the first few in the world to recognise and constitutionally protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Intersex (GLBTI) communities. Following the promulgation of the new Constitution in 1996, buttressed by a progressive Bill of Rights, the country seemed irretrievably on a new path.

The rationale for the Brand Summit South Africa

22 years following the dawn of democratic South Africa and four Presidents later, a lot has happened to unravel the tapestry of the rainbow nation which earned South Africa the admiration of the world. This summit will provide a robust platform to begin - but probably not finish - a series of easy and difficult conversations that will enable participants to:

  • Understand how South Africa is perceived and what it is currently associated with and known for, domestically and globally (current nation brand image);

  • Identify the things that impact on South Africa as a nation brand;

  • Discuss South Africa's brand narrative(s), i.e. the messages that are being received out there, domestically and globally, about the country, how these get sent out and how they inform the narrative of the nation brand image;

  • Identify key South African brands - across the spectrum - domestically and globally, that particularly impact on South Africa's image;

  • Globally benchmark South Africa against other nation brands, especially its middle-income country peers, in Africa and elsewhere in the world;

  • Discuss global best practice in nation brand building and management;

  • Facilitate discussions about an ideal brand South Africa; what we would like South Africa to be known for and associated with (brand identity); and, finally

  • Recognise, award, and celebrate the brands that make South Africa shine.