The recently launched Brand Botswana logo bears a striking resemblence to the South African Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks agency brand logo, sparking fears that the Botswana Export Development Agency (BEDIA) may have commissioned, approved and paid for a plagerised artwork.
The Brand Botswana logo and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks logo share the same concept. The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency logo, which is copyrighted along with other contents of their website, appears to be the source of the Brand Botswana visual identity.
It has a rendition of the sun peering over what appears to be either a hill or horizon. The Mpumalanga’s artist’s impression of the sun has five rays while Brand Botswana’s has seven. Further each ray on the Brand Botswana’s visual has different colours.
BEDIA has not responded to a questionnaire sent to them last week on allegations of possible creative theft or copyright infringement. Deputy Director of communications Kungo Lentswe said BEDIA CEO and former education minister Jacob Nkate and Brand Botswana’s Deputy Director Ludo Mokotedi are attending a fair in China.
At the time of going to press, even Coordinator for the Government Communications and Information Systems, Dr Jeff Ramsay, had not responded to an inquiry emailed to him last Wednesday. The national brand was engineered to be steered by Brand Botswana Management Organisation interim board of directors led by BEDIA’s former CEO Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, BEDIA’s former communications manager and now Debswana’s Group Public and Corporate Affairs Manager, Esther Kanaimba, the now deceased Managing Director of Horizon Ogilvy Botswana, Mathata Gasennelwe, Sheila Khama of De Beers Botswana, Chief Negotiator in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Motlhware Masisi, Coordinator for the Government Communications and Information Systems, Dr Jeff Ramsay, and Ms Kate Maphage, a businesswoman.
A number of local graphic artists who requested anonymity insist that the Brand Botswana logo has been plagiarised.
“When you consider the concept of all three logos, you can see that they are really the same thing. The Brand Botswana one and the Mpumalanga one are especially close. Look at the illustrations and the placement of the text, it’s too close for comfort. It has obviously been plagiarised.” said a local graphic artist who wished to remain nameless.
He maintains the Brand Botswana logo is a copy, and not a derivative of the Mpumalanga one because the Brand Botswana is new.
Plagiarism is the unathourized use or imitation of someone’s work and passing it off as original.
Another graphic designer, J.T., is much more forthright in the critique of the Brand Botswana and Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency logo.
“If I formed my own political party and took the Botswana Democratic Party’s symbol of a car jack and put it on a purple background, would that make my logo different from Domkrag’s? Could I call it mine? No, everybody will be able to see that I ripped it from BDP. That’s exactly what happened in this case. It’s a shameless and blatant theft. Someone needs to account for this mess. It will bring this country into disrepute. Imagine trying to brand Botswana with a stolen identity. This is tultamount to high treason,” he said.