“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering…” – Ben Okri
Nowhere is this truth as enunciated by the profound words of Nigerian author, Ben Okri, more evident than in the remarkable narrative of brand Africa – a story etched with resilience, survival, and a relentless spirit of renewal.
Centuries of colonial conquest cast a long shadow over the continent, leaving scars that, while not forgotten, have become part of a larger, more compelling tale. Africa’s authenticity, as Okri so eloquently captures, lies not in the suffering imposed upon it, but in the extraordinary ability of its people to rise above adversity.
Africa’s survival is a testament to the indomitable human spirit. The colonial era sought to stifle the voices of a multitude of cultures, languages, and traditions, but the heartbeat of the continent proved too strong to be silenced. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Africa emerged from the depths of subjugation with an unwavering commitment to reclaim its identity – eloquently captured in the brand mantra, “The Africa We Want”, advanced by Agenda 2063.
“The Africa We Want” is a powerful tagline that encapsulates the collective aspirations and dreams of the diverse nations that make up the continent. It goes beyond the realms of rhetoric and embodies a shared vision for a future defined by unity, prosperity, and self-determination. This tagline represents the commitment to shaping an Africa where economic development is inclusive, social justice prevails, and cultural richness thrives. It envisions a continent where the voices of its people are heard and respected, where innovation and education flourish, and where sustainable practices harmonise with the environment. “The Africa We Want” serves as a rallying cry for a transformative journey, emphasising a narrative of resilience, growth, and the relentless pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for all its inhabitants.
Resilience, the cornerstone of Africa’s story, manifested in the preservation of languages, the safeguarding of traditions, and the unwavering pride in diverse heritages. The very essence of African authenticity lies in the refusal to succumb to the narratives imposed by external forces. Instead, the continent found strength in the richness of its tapestry – a mosaic woven with threads of countless stories and experiences.
The capacity to create became a powerful tool in Africa’s renewal. Post-colonial nations embarked on a journey of self-discovery, crafting identities that were not defined by the chains of the past but inspired by the dreams of a brighter future. From the arts to technology, Africans embraced the creative spirit within, birthing a renaissance that resonated across the global stage.
To endure, however, is more than a mere survival tactic – it is a philosophy deeply embedded in the African ethos. The endurance of Africa transcends the physical and encompasses the resilience of the human spirit, the tenacity to weather storms, and the ability to emerge stronger on the other side.
Transformation became the beacon guiding Africa into a new era. The reclamation of natural resources, the pursuit of economic empowerment, and the embrace of technological advancements signalled a continent shedding the vestiges of the past to carve its path forward. Africa’s transformation is a perpetual journey, fuelled by an unyielding belief in the possibility of a better tomorrow.
Love, in the context of Okri’s words, becomes a binding force, connecting the people of Africa in a shared commitment to uplift, support, and celebrate one another. The love for one’s culture, land, and fellow Africans is the glue that holds the diverse tapestry of the continent together.
In being greater than its suffering, Africa rises above the historical injustices, the economic disparities, and the social challenges that persist. The narrative of brand Africa is not one of victimhood but of triumph – an ode to the authentic spirit that refuses to be defined by the struggles of yesterday.
In the echo of Ben Okri’s wisdom, Africa’s story unfolds as a symphony of creation, endurance, and transformation – a tale where authenticity is found not in the scars left by history but in the magnificent capacity of a continent to continuously rise, create, endure, and transform, shining brighter with each passing chapter.
Do enjoy your weekend.
Tujenge Afrika Pamoja! Let’s Build Africa Together.
Saul Molobi (FCIM)
Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +27 11 483 1019
Mobile: +27 83 635 7773