Brand the beloved country

Magazine Cover

Brand the Beloved Country.

I'll repeat that. BRAND the Beloved Country.

It's no mistake. And Alan Paton, the forward-thinking author of Cry, the Beloved Country, a seminal, anguished account of race-torn South Africa during Apartheid, will indeed turn over in his grave. Only to sit up and nod his approval at what the latter-day Republic, boasting a united society and one of the world's most liberal constitutions, has become. Argentina may be crying over its economic meltdown, but no tears need be shed over the growth and stability that our country has experienced in its ten brief years of democracy.

Yes, the author will be pleased. But what WILL anger the posthumous Paton is that the global perception of South Africa is drifting listlessly in the doldrums of stale opinions, outdated facts, and useless stereotypes. If any nation needs an advertising campaign, it's us. Hence the birth of Brand the Beloved Country, a project designed to show the world what the new South Africa is all about. Building our future, now that we have adequate foundations, is also about building our brand (see page 38).

And building other, internal connections, too, such as establishing links between the burgeoning local design community and marginalised workers. We're proud to announce that the Department of Arts and Culture will be funding a Design Indaba project during 2006 in which an established homegrown designer will work with disabled crafters in order to create a product that's fitting for both the local and international market. The result will generate sustainable incomes, thereby enabling disability - through design.

Exciting, brand-new times. - Lauren Shantall