The Sunday Mail
Wikipedia describes patriotism as the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to one’s country. This attachment can be a combination of many feelings, language relating to one’s homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.
The Oxford dictionary says it is the quality of being patriotic, devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.
This was well-pronounced in the feedback I have received over the past week, which largely described patriotism as the catchword to successful branding. Emphasis in my instalment last Sunday was on the need to collectively brand our country so it can occupy its rightful position in global dynamics.
Below are some of the responses I received:
Greetings, Victoria Ruzvidzo
I buy The Sunday Mail frequently and your column is the first that I read because your notion of a proud national identity resonates with my beliefs.
Therefore, please, allow me to respond to your call to engage your readership regarding the questions that you posed in the article “Half truths, untruths and blatant lies too costly”, which appeared in The Sunday Mail of November 13.
What opportunities can we exploit?
Elections are international branding opportunities, where nations either cast themselves as investor worthy or investor unworthy.
The nation has the chance, in the aftermath of the 2023 and 2028 harmonised elections, to agree that the will of the people is expressed by the result. A tranquil continuation (or transfer) of political authority is a desirable national brand trait.
Consequently, condemnation ought to be borne by those who will dispute election results and seek to subvert the will of the people through court rulings and other imaginative intrigues.
How do we optimally do that as a country?
As a youth, I intend to launch a social media campaign for the purpose of promoting, to a targeted 6 million views, awareness on the benefits of an undisputed election result in 2023 and 2028. The mantra for this campaign is “Adyiwa ngaabvume”, because failure to accept the will of the people is an unacceptable attitude that should be shunned so as not to mar the nation’s tremendous achievements in brand development for the past half a decade.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
Ref: Editor’s Brief on Branding: Sunday Mail November 13, 2022
I read with interest your appeal to all of us Zimbabweans to embrace and promote product Zimbabwe.
It seems your interest was prompted by the pep talk you had with some executives from industry and commerce, which was centred on “How bad-mouthing the country by some of our own nationals does irreparable damage and disrespect to us (perhaps unbeknown to them, including the bad-mouthers), as citizens, as Government and as a country”.
I believe that branding is not only about products. First and most importantly, the issue is about branding the Zimbabwean mindset, by creating patriots so that wherever we are, we speak, eat and live Zimbabwe – we are Zimbabweans. Nothing should take that away from us. Patriotism is the foundation of turning all our natural and human resources into truly and locally grown brands we want for our own benefit first; secondly, for the benefit of the region (SADC); thirdly, for mother Africa; and lastly, for the good of the world we live in.
The Second Republic has already taken the bold lead by using our own resources and local contractors in the development of some of the much-needed infrastructure the Government is putting in place. Such infrastructure abounds for both friend and foe to see.
The same strategy should be used for our human capital, the expertise of which is world class, which, for the last 42 years, has largely been used for the benefit of all other countries except Zimbabwe.
You asked “What opportunities can we exploit?”
Simply put, there are windows of opportunity in every sector of the economy, where this abundant expertise can be exploited for the benefit of our country, to locally produce, to beneficiate, to innovate, to brand and, after satisfying local needs, to export.
Heritage — need to inform, educate and empower
During the past week up to last night, I watched our ambassadors being taken around the country to witness the amazing developments taking place in the country. I am sure most of them, although they may have read about some of these infrastructure developments in the country, might have thought it was propaganda until they saw the projects with their own eyes. I am sure they now have a good tangible story to tell.
Lest we forget, the war of liberation was executed under the cardinal mantra “We are our own liberators”, which the Second Republic has reaffirmed with the mantra “ Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo”.
You rightly asked the “how” question, dear Editor.
My answer is again based on the execution of the war of liberation, when the same question was answered through the song “Tipeiwo chimoto nechimwanda cheuswa, huni tinozodziwanira ikoko kuZimbabwe”.
I remain an anxious reader of your Briefs.
Robert S. Munjanganja
Brilliant article, my sister.
The issue of having a national brand has been long overdue. There cannot be meaningful development where people do not have a common identity and willingness to defend, protect and perpetuate that common identity. I am personally impressed when we have contemporary think tanks interrogating the concept of having a national brand.
Questions such as these may provide fundamental guidance in addressing the current problem of citizens demonising their own fellow citizens and socio-economic systems in a quest for personal gain or political power. How do we then, as a nation, develop a national brand?
What aspects are crucial in the formulation of a brand? How do we raise the flag of our brand together as a people?
I think efforts must be increased to see the national Constitution printed in all the recognised languages and distributed from provincial and metropolitan levels to ward and family levels. This is so because the very founding principles and values of our country are clear and loud as enshrined in the Constitution, especially in the Preamble and Section 3.
What Zimbabweans need to do is accept that we are united in our common diversity. We have our own internal conflicts, which we can fix if we are tolerant.
We, as a people, make the error of demonising each and every policy the ruling party may propose to implement because of our own quest to get into power. This quest has left us perceiving that patriotism is only for ZANU PF cadres.
That is a fundamental error.
In building and fostering the national brand, we should engage in a crucial mind-shift and accept that patriotism must be distinct from party politics.
It is only when we stand firm on the berth of patriotism that we can be brand ambassadors of our own national identity.
Equally fundamental is for citizens to know their country and benefit from its resources in a transparent and equitable manner.
By so doing, everyone will feel and know they belong to Zimbabwe.
When national resources are utilised or even plundered in an exclusionary fashion, some citizens tend to feel left out and are bound not to support any national policies and systems that are meant to push the national vehicle of development forward.
In short, what is needed is to empower citizens and improve their livelihoods. This should be done within the background of fostering unity, peace, freedom, production and patriotism.
A reward or entitlements of some sort must come as a payoff to citizens so that they remain or are made to be loyal and patriotic to the causes of their own nation.
Through that way, a brand may be re-established, a brand can be perpetuated and Zimbabweans will eventually raise their flag high in all sub-national, national, regional, continental and inter-continental socio-economic affairs.
Thank you so much, Editor, for bringing a very relevant topic into the national consciousness. My thoughts are that the genesis of any branding initiative is a mindset shift.
We need to start with our conception of ourselves.
How confident are we? How much do we believe in our product offerings? Do we have a lucid picture of our identity?
Everything is based on foundation. In our various spheres, we represent our homeland. For strategic planning, we engage various players; we inculcate in them that they are brand ambassadors.
We also take deliberate steps to up the ante.
Thank you so much for being patriotic.
Fredrick Makore, Harare
In God I Trust!