When someone says the word ‘Africa’ or ‘African’ it brings up divided perceptions. Some people don’t feel fit in identifying with the word African because of their skin colour. Foreigners too don’t accept that people of various races can be African. Once again race divides people when in fact being African is not about race. To some it may still be. To everyone else the fact that a person is born and lives on the continent makes them African.
It’s about belonging. Saying you are African should create a sense of belonging. For some that belonging is threatened by the strong ties the word still holds towards race. Any discomfort or uncertainty of being fit due to race needs to be overcome.
Especially in a time when people are more aware of local brands and want to play their part in supporting African brands. All the support is needed and race shouldn’t be a barrier to this local support.
As brands that are proudly African, communication with your consumers should be inclusive of all races and dissolve the race barrier to being African.
As people observe communication like this there will be greater unity and comfort. People will also value those brands that endeavour to bring them together rather than create further division. People want to belong and being African is a challenge to many rather than a reason for pride.
The friction that still exists in being ‘African’ can be smoothed out through tactful communication on the part of African brands. Which will be a benefit not just to people but to the future growth of the brands themselves.