It would be fair to say that, as a country, we’re not exactly covering ourselves in glory at the moment. You can throw into the pot Nkandla, the FIFA scandal, a Sudanese war criminal being given safe passage home and stir in some Oscar released early.
If that’s not quite spicy enough, remember to add a pinch of load-shedding and a dash of xenophobic violence – I believe what you have there is the perfect recipe for the rest of the world to look on less than favourably.
Respected political commentator Mandy Wiener has written an opinion piece on EWN addressing these issues and how our ‘brand’ is taking a beating overseas. Here’s her analysis of the the FIFA scandal:
The irony is that the tournament was a celebration of ‘Brand SA’ and the epitome of all that unity, rainbows and fluffy hope stuff. Now that has been undermined and perceptions have, to an extent, been replaced by assumptions of corruption and disregard for the rule of law. The blatant denials by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, in the face of mounting evidence, has done those perceptions no favours.
Next in the firing line is Nkandla and, in particular, Jacob Zuma’s public jesting:
Footage of the president standing up in Parliament and mimicking opposition members and mocking outrage like a farcical character in a pantomime is downright embarrassing. The conduct of many of our MPs in Parliament of late has been a joke – a case in point is Willie Madisha’s bizarre ‘Hong! Hong! Hong!’ outburst? Imitating barnyard animals isn’t exactly becoming of our elected officials.
Let’s skip over the xenophobic violence and touch on South Africa’s new visa regulations:
The impact of the new laws, requiring people travelling to the country to have biometric visas and to carry an unabridged birth certificate for children, has had a huge impact on the tourism industry. Tourism services association Satsa has gone as far as describing it as ‘cataclysmic’. All this serves to do is repel foreigners from coming to visit here, rather than entice them.
Here’s Wiener signing off with a summation of where ‘Brand South Africa’ stands at present:
I absolutely agree that there is a litany of positives that South Africa has to bank on and there are reams of strong selling points to strengthen our global identity. But we would be fools to think that ‘Brand SA’s’ glowing associations of rainbows, hope and possibility have not been tarnished by these recent developments.
Yes, what you have read above doesn’t look great but let’s not get all ‘doom and gloom’ just yet, Cape Town did sneak into the ten cheapest cities to live in.
Also biltong, braais and leaving work early when Eskom sees fit – where else in the world will you find such delights?
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