“What is your country’s purpose on the planet?”

Simon Anholt and Akela

I attended the Brand Africa Forum in Johannesburg where the keynote speaker was Simon Anholt, someone I’ve wanted to meet for a long time.

He’s been a policy advisor to over 40 governments, author and researcher. He specialises in national identity and reputation, public diplomacy and the public perceptions of nations, cities and regions. Simon developed the concepts of the ‘nation brand’ and ‘place brand’ in the late 1990s.

The first question he asks heads of state when they consult him, is “what is your country’s purpose?”   All lay claim to the “warmth of their people” as one of their greatest attributes.

The interview with him will be published in CapeInfo’s interviews section soon and I hope I will do that remarkable interview justice.

When he heard about Akela, he just had to meet her.  His comment was fascinating — “the dog she looks most like is the Alsation, which isn’t a dog I’m particularly fond of, but she’s much more beautiful.”


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