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Representation and Branding

I’m not a staunch lover of brands. I’m suspicious of great names. My vandetta with them are historical. But as I am writing I am beginning to think I never thought of naming what I want to represent. There is power in naming. So thank Afrobloggers for bringing in these tasks that manifest their profoundness as we partake in this challenge. As I ponder of the brand name of that I want to represent, allow me to describe how the brand should be like and how it must work.

Before taking you to the brand allow me to wind you through historical records I have come across. This may save me explanations on what informs my thoughts on branding and representation, concepts I think are of paramount importance in shaping who we are in multiple spaces that we find ourselves in.

Another of my favorite writers Bernard Oyono in his book The Old Man and The Medal books has shown how African wine and its consumption was condemned by the colonizer as sinful. The double standard culture of it all came through the white men intoxicating the black person with his wines which didn’t come for free. It was sold. In a more painful depiction in Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Healers the toxins are given as rewards to those African chiefs who supported the colonizer in the horrendous colonizing wars or battles.

In my motherland Delta Beverages have branded some of the drinks I would not need rocket science to tell me the recipes were stolen in the name of patterns. If you were to come this side or if you are here I will take you through a drink they have called scud and supa before taking you to one of my grannies who is good at brewing a drink they have called 7 days. The difference through my eyes is the same.

Unfortunately my early attempts to take such kind of drinks ended when I was still an authentic villager. I tasted 7 days, it was good to the brain. I didn’t have an opportunity to take in these other brands by corporates. There is another case by Dairiboard and Delta concerning maheu, a drink that was stolen and packaged to make us think it’s different from what my mother’s mother was doing for us. Given the opportunity I will resurrect her for the drink and other dishes she served us.

The experiences in Oyono, Armah and Southern African worldviews as written and lived and many other experiences are the seeds of mistrust of brands by the advocate. I don’t like these grand brands for the cannibalistic tendencies they have on my blood and creativity. They leave me no room for self love that comes with me supporting your business or starting one knowing I have you as my client. They tagged me with a consumerist and horse tag where I need to stand in between as a buyer and seller of my labor. I don’t own my poor body.

I’m writing this now because I was given the chance to. I was thinking to write about it after having tried something and failed or succeeded. What am I saying!! In one of my poems this is what I say, I think I was singing about my brand

My first cry was an act

Your first cry was an act

Our cry heralded an act of action

Action is power

The powerful are those who act

Thinking that manifests itself in action is power

Real power is not in words

Food do not come out of words

Revolution are not only won through words

Yes words are power

Yes, we have revolutionary songs

But its our will to live our songs that give meaning to the revolution

Action is power

I will speak on the day of harvest

To explain and elaborate my actions

**My actions will execute my theory

Theory that will take us forward

Theories of actors

Theories showing and explaining our failures

Our successes Hope investment theories

I’m just saying I want to be my own brand. This is the brand that I remember me telling one of my mothers, who is doing her degree in Media and Society Studies with a local University. I told her I want to attain a PhD in my area of study. After that I pray I own a garden and do my gardening. It is from this garden that I wish to theorize and form concepts on which to share with students if ever I were to find a university to hire me.

That was then. Now I’m thinking say there is no University going after the services of a mad professor, what then will I do? I will not give up on the brand. I will want the brand to be a school. I would like the community to see that you can be lost in books and come back and teach from the garden. So my brand students would be derived from the nearby community.

Imagine the CEO sitting under a tree after some real exercise with a whole writing of the tree providing this resting shed, of the flowers and plants in his garden. Imagine the villager writing of fresh chips made of potatoes from his garden. Imagine the advocate speaking of a tomato processing plant of the potatoes from his garden. Take your time to think of the CEO planning to construct a milling company for the grains from his garden. Just imagine the villager thinking of harvesting water in the nearby stream to water the garden when the gods are not willing to water the lands with their tears. Imagine the brand ambassadors writings poems of their families’ joy and happiness after feeding from the fruits of the garden. Imagine the advocate eating meat from his real poultry and livestock and drinking of his real milk.

If you haven’t got me, here is what I intended to say all this time. The brand I want to represent is me. This is a brand that should be contemplative and innovative. Practical and theoretical. See the sequence, I like it that way ”practice followed by theory” not the other way. I want to represent a brand that grows and broadens its wings. I want a brand that goes from Humankind to business and business to Humankind. I don’t want to be the brand that relies on aid. I don’t want a brand that starves and maims people. It should be expansive. The brand represented should be at the service of the people. It should feed people. It should encourage people to be independent. It should support other local African brands.

An upcoming anthology where I am a contributor


The CEO’s Desk

Published by advocateofunpopularopinions

I am a preacher confused in the constant happenings of life. I have been secretive about inner thoughts. Now I want to flow with them. I want to vomit. The pen is my link to the paper. The keyboard becomes the first step towards you. The internet will sort everything else considering I am not broke.

14 thoughts on “Representation and Branding

  1. A Brand that supports πŸ‘ŠπŸ‘ŠπŸ‘Š
    People to business , business to people. I see where you headed its been currently debated on one of the talk shows here in Uganda .

    Why the aid instead of supporting our very own to produce the very things we tend to import.

    I love how you unapologetically show how a brand should be in African sense

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One day advocate , the next ceo dreaming of being a mad professor lecturing from a garden, yet all the same person.
    Sometimes we limit ourselves trying strive for what has been fed to us as the universal definition of arrivalism and yet in truth, most of that is a cannibalistic salvage of what was once ours, taken and sold back to us and we buy it again, and again, and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You interpreted and communicated it in a way I would have loved to. I am always grappling with the questions you raised in that blog post you introduced with the Shangaan way of keeping memory. What kind of schooling was there before the current type and I want to imagine possibilities considering that the one which seduced us is seemingly failing.


        1. I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant so I was proofing and learning from them under the guidance of their amazing lecturer and one of the greatest story tellers from Zimbabwe. You may find him on youtube under the name Ignatius Mabasa


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