Friends & Friction: A new soul trapped in an old body

2014-07-23 06:45

It was a mistake to launch a Brics development bank a day after the Fifa World Cup final. This monumental announcement got lost in the noise of the exiting crowds.

The bank will free the developing world from the clutches of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, institutions that have created enormous hardship for developing economies, leading to social strife.

The good news is South Africa is an equal shareholder alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China. Clearly, we are punching way above our weight.

The quiet passing of this big event forces us to ask a bigger question: Why are South Africans so gloomy about their freedom when so much has been achieved?

Don’t blame the media, only tinpot despots do so. I believe the fault lies in the fact that we have never really made a clean break with our past.

We remain its captives and believe what we’ve been told for years – that we are good at nothing. It seems as if it is our mission to prove that theory correct, so we’ve become blind to the good in us and our minds are too damaged to dream of what we can become.

We prefer the company of our shortcomings and the sympathies that come with our sorrows. South Africa is a new soul trapped in an old body.

It is time to rebrand our country.

I can hear some people say: “We have bigger problems to worry about than throwing out Jan van Riebeeck.”

But symbols are important whether you call them flags, corporate colours, emblems or logos. They make people feel passionate about their country, company or cause.

Great countries rebrand themselves from time to time, for whatever reason.

When the United Colonies of North America “rebranded” itself as the United States of America, no one knew they were unleashing the potential of a superpower.

The current 50-star US flag was adopted as recently as 1960 after it was designed by Robert Heft, who died only five years ago.

The problem with our flag is that it is a compromise of colours that no one really feels attached to.

If we truly want to walk with dignity, we must do what great nations did?– we must change the name of this country and write a new chapter in history.

Only then will we truly celebrate our people and our national achievements.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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