SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Advert Celebrates 20 Years 'With Pride, Wonder'

It is time to pause, take breath and appreciate the miracle of South Africa; twenty years into the life of the nation, it is time to praise a bold, exciting country. This is the message of a new Brand South Africa advertising campaign marking the country's 20 Years of Freedom.

The new campaign, running across digital, print, radio and TV platforms, starts on Saturday, on the eve of Freedom Day and the 20th anniversary of South Africa's first democratic elections. The campaign celebrates with pride, confidence and amazement what the country has achieved over the last 20 years.

"We have overcome so much and come so far, it is time to celebrate the miracle of South Africa," Wendy Tlou, Brand South Africa's director of strategic marketing, said at an unveiling of the new TV "spots" in Johannesburg on Friday. "We can be proud to be South Africans. We are confident in the future we are building, and are constantly amazed at what we have achieved."

Where once Brand South Africa created a vision of South Africa to aspire to, the new campaign celebrates the fact that we are living up to our capabilities and in many ways exceeding our potential.

"We are allowed to boast now," Tlou said. "We have the Gautrain - the first high-speed rail link in Africa. We have world-class infrastructure. We scan the skies [with the Southern African Large Telescope, and soon with the Square Kilometre Array and its precursor, the MeerKAT radio telescope], and a South African has even been into space."

Filled with uplifting images of the country's successes, the new TV spot opens with scenes of rural voters standing in the sun waiting to cast their first ever ballot.

Images of Sandton's growing and changing skyline celebrates South Africa's growing economy and the country's role as the economic engine of Africa.

There are no big names in the new ad; it is a celebration of everyday South Africa, the people who have built the country from the ground up.

The visuals continue, covering infrastructure - construction workers on site showing 20 years of new opportunities - and the Coega industrial development zone in the Eastern Cape.

Tlou explained that choosing the visuals, especially showing construction, was the most satisfying. "For me it's not just about houses built. Instead, each of those houses is a home for a family."

Building to the final image, a classroom of grade 1 kids, the class of 2030, the ad celebrates the "old man" who embodied all the values that South Africans aspire to - Nelson Mandela. By force of character, he brought peace and unity to a country fractured by a brutal past.

It was important, Tlou stressed, that the soundtrack to the ad was a local composition. "We are after all a country with its own rhythm and beat." The music is powerful, driving and ties in with the ad's theme of looking back in celebration while looking forward to a promising future.

So, "thank you South Africa". "Rea leboga Afrikaborwa". "Dankie Suid Afrika". "Siyabonga iningizimu Afrika".

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