Rebranding Africa 2.0 – How Africans are changing the African narrative by making GIANT moves Globally
Following our previous blog titled, “Doing our part for Youth” in the month of June, we mentioned that rebranding Africa plays an integral role in the continent’s economic growth. We listed tips that could be followed by big brands to ensure involvement of African youth in their brand strategies.
Branding is an essential part of a modern life. A simple process such as deciding what to order for dinner is influenced by advertising strategies employed by different food outlets to lure customers into choosing their food over their competitors. No doubt, branding is an evolving process that requires attention to detail and good persuasive skills to build brand loyalty.
Fortunately for Africa, the continent does not require extensive convincing of its magnificent nature and its growing potential. Africa has its own vibrant and cultured personality which we need to capitalise on. Word on the street has it that Africa is the place to be now and a great place to invest in. Gone are the days when Africa was seen as one of the poorest, under-developed continents in the world! Countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana just to mention a few are producing individuals that are taking giant leaps globally to create footprints that no one else can erase. Africa and its children are indeed a force to be reckoned with.
Listed below are ways Mama Africa took giant leaps and made strides internationally making the rest of the world take notice.
Black Coffee – Makes history at the 2016 BET Awards
Mzansi to World Wide
Nkosinathi Maphumulo, popularly known as DJ Black Coffee, secured a historic win at the 2016 BET Awards, becoming the first South African to win the accolade. He took home the award for Best International Act: Africa. About 10 years ago, in 2006, only a few people knew about Black Coffee and the music he produces. Fast forward to 2016, his work is recognized all over the world and successfully managed to receive a recognized accolade within the entertainment industry. The artist has managed to secure a multi-continental following through his music, with notable tours in Europe, North America and Asia. His latest venture is working in collaboration with Alicia Keys, an American R’n’B recording artist. In an interview with Mail & Guardian Online, he concluded by saying: “For me this is just the beginning. I feel like I haven’t done much”.
The Beat FM – African radio station launched in London
Lagos to London
The Beat FM, a popular Lagos radio station, started broadcasting from a north London community radio license on 28 March 2016.
To date, this project serves as the UK’s doorway to the rhythmic and hypnotic hip-hop influenced music of Africa’s fast-growing youthful cities like Accra, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Lagos.
The idea of an African music station launching in London might have seemed a little ambitious not too long ago. But hits by stars like Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage and Wizkid, Ghana’s Stonebwoy and Sarkodie, South Africa’s Cassper Nyovest and Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz have already been seeping into the London night club scene and have been on the borders of playlists of the UK radio scene.
Chris Ubosi, CEO of Megalectrics, parent company of the Beat FM, says Beat FM London will be looking to provide a platform where African music is readily available to a growing market.
“We want to put African music on the same pedestal with other genres,” he told Quartz Africa, “Put the music in the mainstream so it’s played alongside other genres rather than being compartmentalized and played only during specific shows.”
Khanyisola Obayan – Avid advocate of African culture in America
Lagos to New York
For writer and cultural ambassador, Kanyinsola Obayan, his life’s passion is to communicate the intricacies of African cultural practices. She holds a degree in Africana Studies at Cornell University and also has dual B.A.s in International Relations and Global Studies, as well as African and African Diaspora Studies from the University of Texas at Austin which were awarded in 2014. Her work primarily focuses on colonialism and violence; gender, feminism and sexuality; globalization, transnationalism and Diaspora. She is particularly interested in the radical potentiality of black women’s bodies as weapons in relationship to state formation.
Speaking to Applause Africa, an online publication which she is also Deputy Editor for, she says: “I am always searching for new conducts by which to translate and express the predicaments of being an African in the contemporary global zone”.
Our brothers and sisters are doing an amazing job of representing the rest of the African continent and sending out shockwaves to the rest of the world of how the African narrative is being rewritten and characterized. Surely one can say, “Mama Africa: what a time to be alive!”
By: Lasi Mashaba
Account Executive at Africommunications Group Ltd. (ACG).