The history of South Africa and Africa cannot be told without the mention of the name Nelson Madiba Mandela who dedicated his life to building a better world for everyone. Mandela is not just a name synonymous to South Africans but a continental and global brand. A strong activist and champion to millions around the world whose dignity, humanityand courage serves as a source of inspiration. A legend with an indomitable spirit without whom South Africa and Africa may not have been unified. Mandela is and will continually be a celebrated brand in Africa and across the globe.
Today marks what would have been the 100th Birth Anniversary of a great freedom fighter and Noble Peace Prize Winner. May I share one of his quotes which I think is relevant to reflect on especially at a time like this in our continent and it reads thus “It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build”. Our leaders and people in positions of power need to take a queue from this quote and make Africa the hero it should be. For many years, Mandela struggled and took many risks just because he believed in the brand ‘Africa’ and he fought a good fight even till the very end.
Nelson Mandela is idolized and celebrated across the world because of what he stood for. Africa is blessed with resources (both natural & human) and must rise again. Africa can retrace her steps and be that “giant” of the world. Africa is our brand and we must sell it to yield profit for ourselves and generations to come. We are celebrating Nelson Mandela today because he made a huge impact in our lives and continent. How are we telling the Africa story such that generations after us can celebrate and be proud of the continent? It is a long overdue time to begin our campaign for Africa and tell the encouraging African stories that will help regain a positive Africa that we seek and desire. In the words of Mandela, What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
As reputation managers and umbrella body for the practice of public relations in Africa, we recognize and celebrate a brand ambassador whose life and struggles sold Africa in a positive light giving her a reputation for generations to be proud of. From all of us at the African Public Relations Association (APRA), we wish Nelson Mandela, South Africans and Africa aas a whole a happy Nelson Mandela International Day!