Thursday, August 26, 2010

(South) Africa - Will you put your soul into it?

I've had quite the South African day. I wore a South African t-shirt, I skyped with my Ghanaian friend who lives in South Africa, watched Tsotsi again, blogged about South Africa, reached out to Terry Pheto, sang South African songs in the shower and have listened to South African music all day. (Sure, I didn't eat pap, shout a Vuvuzela and tell a friend about Tshabalala, but still). The best way to round it up is to tell you something about my favorite South African website. Sagoodnews.co.za. They "highlight South Africa's progress and positive developments and concentrate on solutions not problems." That's my kind of site. Hey, they even have africagoodnews.com too. AfricaGoodNews is sponsored by MTN (hehe) and SaGoodNews by FNB. They're proudly South African. They've started a legacy campaign and I want to help spread the word about that.


It wasn't one week after the end of the World Cup that media headlines turned our attention to the looming strike action and the Agliotti and Selebi trials. The World Cup was a welcome relief from many of the underlying challenges facing South Africa. We were united as never before. But life quickly returned to what it was before the historic event.

Or did it?

Since the end of the World Cup, we've seen the launch of the International Marketing Council's (IMC) Fly the Flag Fridays campaign, Draftfcb's Keep Flying campaign, the Primedia and Independent Newspaper's LeadSA initiative and the SABC's Social Investment Campaign starting with the clean-up of Hillbrow. Clearly, these campaigns have been inspired and initiated to keep the patriotic spirit of the World Cup alive.

South African tourism has received a considerable boost as an overwhelming number of World Cup tourists have said they'd recommend South Africa to family and friends (http://bit.ly/dwAXaB). Just this week, thousands of citizens, spurred on by LeadSA, stepped in to 'fill the gap' as Public Sector strikes overwhelmed the nation (http://bit.ly/a0oShG).

Every South African adult is currently being faced with two choices: the 'entitlement' choice to demand from our nation its money and resources for ourselves; or the 'service' choice to give to our nation our energy and resources, the choice to "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" as JFK once said.

The IMC, on the back of this wave of goodwill, is committed to encouraging South Africans to build on the World Cup legacy. On Monday evening, 23rd August 2010 "Brand South Africa", the IMC's nation-branding initiative, launched its Legacy Campaign to champion the cause of six specific projects every Friday until the 24th September 2010.

The campaign kicked off last Friday with the "Support the Springboks" initiative encouraging South Africans to wear their Springbok jerseys ahead of the All Blacks clash at Orlando Stadium last Saturday. This also culminated in the Keep Flying Guinness World Record attempt for the most number of national flags flown at one sporting event (http://bit.ly/cMEbup).

"The 2010 FIFA World Cup may be over, but its legacy remains... put your soul into it," says Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa. "Our success was mainly about people - ordinary South Africans who came together to make the tournament the most successful in its history."

The campaign is charging South Africans to "put your soul into it" and define and celebrate what Brand South Africa says is our nation's "unique culture of success". It's about building on the legacy that resulted from hosting a successful World Cup and entrenching the principles of pride, patriotism and solid citizenship that have been established over the past year. "We will be providing platforms that will enable us all to continue to achieve and showcase our 'South Africanness' to the world," says Matola.

The campaign is founded on the South African values of Ubuntu, sustainability, possibility, diversity, innovation and creativity and themes for the campaign will include the 'Class of 2010', 'do something different', 'our beautiful country' and 'celebrate your South African heritage'.

According to the IMC, "Each Friday, South Africans will celebrate all the things that make us who we are, the unique values displayed during the World Cup and enable us to be proud of our nation, culture and heritage."

Thankfully, there are a number of events, initiatives and campaigns running; we all have the choice to support and participate. So if any one of them is not to your liking, choose one that is!

Supporting the "Class of 2010" - 27 August 2010
This Friday, 27th August, the campaign will focus on the Department of Education's 'Class of 2010' initiative, which encourages ordinary South Africans to support matric students through extra lessons or donating books. With Public Sector strikes still underway across the country, many students have been left at a disadvantage with their final exams looming. The IMC donates several hours on Fridays to distribute stationery and help post-matrics with career choices in line with this initiative. There is also a pledge that can be taken to support education in South Africa on www.southafrica.info.

Do Something Different - 3 September 2010
The 2010 FIFA World Cup marked a dramatic change in the way we experienced our country, the way we saw our fellow citizens and the way the world saw us. In order to see our nation differently, we need to start doing things differently. As Albert Einstein said, doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Part of the success of the World Cup was that ordinary South Africans were doing things that they weren't normally doing, and seeing great returns. The 'Do Something Different' initiative is about ensuring that we keep the patriotic spirit alive through being innovative and creative in our everyday lives:

* Instead of sending an email, pick up the phone
* Call an old friend
* Join those who are making a difference in your community on this particular Friday
* Visit a neighbour you have never met before
* Visit a community you have never been to before
* Put up a suggestion box where people can share their ideas about doing things differently

Our Beautiful Country - 10 September 2010
South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Let's preserve what we have by making sure we protect and conserve the environment.

Some suggestions include:

* Whenever you walk take a plastic bag and pick up litter, people will follow your lead
* Host a recycling day. Ask everyone to bring in paper, glass, plastic and tins to be recycled
* Plant a tree at home, school, your office or in a community space
* Support anti-rhino poaching initiatives and causes
* Plan to visit a part of South Africa you have never been to before

Do It Day - 18 September 2010
When we stand together as one, we can do anything. We have built magnificent stadiums, world-class hotels and a Gautrain. We have hosted the world's most successful FIFA World Cup. If we all came together, what good could we do for our country and each other now?

* Visit www.doitday.co.za for causes you can volunteer for in your community
* Volunteer for an existing project
* Get your company or school to endorse 'Do It Day'

Celebrate your South African heritage - 24 September 2010
If we were asked how we achieved what we have as a nation, the answer would be easy -"We are South Africans, can't you tell?"

Fly the Flag on this Friday for our South African heritage and celebrate our diversity, our source of strength and resilience. We are the soul of South Africa.

* Have a braai and celebrate your South African heritage on 24th September (public holiday)
* Wear clothes reflecting your culture
* Spend time with someone from a different culture and learn about their customs

Conclusion
The challenge of course with all these campaigns is that they run the risk of being a once-off, and like the World Cup, remain a month-long memory rather than a lifetime journey of discovery and service. There's the chance that we remain 'watchers' and not transform ourselves into 'doers'; adept at hearing the call to volunteer, and yet choosing to remain apathetic. We need to come together and commit to creating a culture of volunteerism in our country, where we, civil society, with government and companies encourage fellow citizens to donate of their time to being responsible, where the norm is us talking to one another about what we've done to "put our soul into it".

At South Africa - The Good News we want to be part of creating this culture of volunteerism by supporting the Legacy Campaign and doing something for each of the five remaining initiatives described above. If you live in Johannesburg and would like to join the South Africa - The Good News team on one of these initiatives, or you have some ideas on other initiatives we can support, send us an email. Together, doing good, we can create a future we will all be proud of.

Remember there are three kinds of people in the world: "Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened!" South Africans are globally regarded as a "can do" nation. Come on fellow compatriots - "let's put our soul into it!"

Editor's note:// Are you joining one of the campaigns? Or have you been volunteering during the strikes? Email us your story.

By Julie Cunningham of www.sagoodnews.co.za


It doesn't just apply to South Africa, it can apply to you. I am talking to you, Africa. Let's go dier. Ke nako!

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