The vision of South Africa’s National Development Plan needs to be communicated to all citizens so that everyone can take ownership of it and participate meaningfully in matters of national importance, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

The NDP clearly describes the type of society South Africa should be by 2030 — a place where opportunity is not determined by race, but where all citizens know their rights and responsibilities and link everything towards a united and prosperous South Africa, she adds.

Speaking at the official launch of Nation Brand Forum, an initiative by Brand South Africa, in Sandton, Johannesburg, Wednesday, she said a strong national brand could only be achieved if there is a strong and socially cohesive nation. Brand South Africa is an agency set up by the government to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa.

“We need to undo the legacy of colonial apartheid which created a state without a nation, without a unity in communities, we cannot have a nation,” Muthambi said, adding that while acknowledging the past, South Africans need to move forward in building a common overarching South African national identity.

During her Budget Vote speech in Parliament in May, Muthambi had announced that a nation building summit would be held after it was observed that there is not enough co-ordination of the country’s efforts to build the country’s brand by all stakeholders.

“As we deliberate today, we should agree on the need to improve the work of Brand South Africa locally and in the African continent,” she said here Wednesday.

She said the Nation Brand Forum had brought together the three spheres of government, private sector and civil society under one roof with a view to seeking agreement on a common approach on how to implement the Cabinet-approved country position of “inspiring new ways” in order to achieve a consistent and cohesive approach when marketing South Africa locally, in the African continent and globally.

She said the forum must identify strengths and benefits to anchor a common approach which would be used to showcase and celebrate the assets of South Africa when promoting the country as an attractive place to visit, to do business with and to study in.

“At the end of this Forum we must agree on the things we need to do to achieve a cohesive and coherent brand image and reputation and create a distinctive identity for the nation brand. Furthermore, we should in the long-term develop a knowledge base, assets and strategies that can be used to help enrich South Africa’s reputation over time,” she said.

“This forum is in line with Brand SA’s objectives of developing and implementing proactive and co-ordinated marketing, communication and reputation management strategies for South Africa.

This is achieved through building nation brand awareness and a positive image of the country, in a consistent way.”