The Bright Continent

Branding 101 tells us that a brand is not a logo, a set of colors, or an advertising campaign — it’s the whole feeling that exists in the mind of the customer/audience in relation to the branded entity.

That’s why I was excited to see an article by NYT on Rebranding Africa. At one time, I spent 40 hours a week researching & writing a (never-published) book about Africa. It is my firmly-held belief that when Africa is able to shake off its image as impoverished, victimized, and hopeless, it will emerge as an absolute heart of culture and industry for our world.

I wait and dream of the day when, upon seeing a t-shirt with the African continent on it, people will think not of need, warfare, Kony, aid camps, disease — but of art, fashion, industry, limitless natural resources, and strong people proudly working in a culture that is neither imitating nor reacting against the western world.

Rebranding Africa through fashion might seem like a small act, and possibly could appear meaningless in the face of the physical needs of many people on the continent. But maybe it’s exactly things like this — moments of dignity, elevation, and respect for humanity — that Africa needs most of all in order to begin to see itself as having dignity, being elevated, and deserving of respect.

(Via @alinawheeler — image from the NYT article.)

2 responses to “The Bright Continent”

  1. David – I am fascinated & inspired by your insights on Africa as it is evolving even now. Have you been to the weaving museum in DC? My CLC friend took me there. It is predominatly a rich display of African art & culture. On a different note a book on my “bucket list” is “How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind” by Thomas C.Oden. The premise of the book – as I recall it – is that Africa was far more influential in the development of the church than Europe. I hope you will at least self-publish your book. I’m so glad you’re in the family! Love, Suzie

  2. Suzie, I haven’t read the book or visited the museum, but now I can’t wait to do either! I really do believe that the people of that continent will re-shape the way we see the culture and economy of the world in a few short years. I just hope it’s in my lifetime so that I get to enjoy the benefits.

    My book was a middle-school level broad history of the continent, focusing on the Scramble for Africa, and now only exists as a detailed outline on a computer somewhere. It’s unlikely it will ever go farther than that, but it was a lot of fun to work on!

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