I would like to add my voice to the on-going debate on the Botswana Brand. I have been following the debate for some time now from newspaper articles and informal gatherings. Honestly, the brand, like one commentator pointed out, is very uninspiring. To start with, it is very dull and looks too causal to sell a great country like Botswana. The words used are very complex. Too many colours have been used. I have seen it a number of times but I still can not remember all of them. I am not in any way trying to belittle the work and efforts of those who developed the brand.
I think a national brand should be something that people can be proud of; something very appealing and attractive. It should also convey a massage in a very simple language. One does not have to open a dictionary to comprehend the message. We want a brand that people can easily identify with and FEEL like having it on their T-Shirts, goods, on their walls, vehicles etc. Like some people would say, it has to be a bit sexy to appeal to people both locally and internationally.
How about having a zebra, the national animal, our national pride, with a tiny diamond (with small sparks) mounted on its (zebra) back? I include a diamond because we are a diamond country, the largest producer by value. We can have a simple phrase underneath: Botswana: We Believe In You! Or Botswana: The Garden of Hope! Botswana: The Promised Land! Yesterday (06/08/08) when I was listening to Mr Michael Morapedi, aka Dignash’s radio show, some caller suggested that we can say Botswana: Sparkling with Opportunities; a very beautiful idea indeed. Or we can just have the zebra without a diamond on it.
Though I have not done any research on this, I am tempted to believe that our people identify easily with the zebra. Even our football teams and many other community formations/structures (mekgathlo) around the country are named after it. We can have it (zebra) in our national colours (see Botswana National Sports Council Log). As to how the zebra should appear in the brand, I leave it to the graphic designers. I am aware that the brand is not meant only for Batswana but to sell the country outside as well. If the locals disapprove of it, if they find it tasteless and uninspiring I doubt if it would have the desired impact on foreign investors.
I humbly call upon the powers that be to consider shelving it for the time being to allow the public to debate and come up with different proposals. Some writer suggested that students could be given a chance to develop the national logo through national school competitions. The other option would be to go the Vision 2016 way. People had to compete in developing the logo and the best was selected and we all know how it looks like.