I’m actually quite happy that my fellow Zambians have finally gotten up in arms against something – ok other than our ridiculous politics (really people PF is a waste of time, why is this even a conversation?) – but this is of quite a huge concern. It is of course the re-branding of Zambia, from a tourist perspective.

For years, the Zambia National Tourist Board has used the slogan – Zambia, The Real Africa. But a couple of weeks ago, they launched the first of several high profile events to reveal the new brand identity and slogan – Zambia: Let’s Explore.

The first launch event I heard about, the invite only, black tie event featured M’Bilia Bel, known as the Queen of Congolese rhumba. The second more prominent event, which sold tickets to the general public in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, had Congolese sensation Fally Ipupa. Usually I don’t mind me some Fally Ipupa – which woman doesn’t? But on this occasion, it just wasn’t the right thing to do.

Having worked in the music, entertainment and media industry I have several friends in the entertainment industry here in Zambia and have always had a keen interest in Zambian music, so I was very surprised that despite the great talent in Zambia, the tourist board thought to launch the Let’s Explore Zambia brand with artists from Congo DRC.

Clearly I wasn’t alone in this thinking as the radio presenters, facebook and twitter updates all went on a rampage about the disrespect for our own. People went so far as to suggest that even the people they are trying to get to come to Zambia might be confused and end up in DRC instead, looking for Fally!

It went as far as people calling for the sacking of the marketing manager or whoever was responsible for the appalling rebrand campaign.

Zambia is at a time when we really are ready to capitalise on the development in the country and indeed the development of the tourism industry (bar the atrocious customer service) and then the body responsible for pushing this to the international community shows the world that our entertainment industry isn’t good enough. At least that’s the message I got.

Of course knowing Zambia, it’s probably that someone got a kickback of sorts, or wanted a private Fally Ipupa concert! Unfortunately, whatever the case, rather than being a successful campaign that everyone talks positively about, there has been a huge public backlash. I wonder if it would be worse if people knew that the person who came up with the new logo was South African! LOL. A Zambian rebrand that seems to not really have anything to do with Zambia…

It is sad really but I’m sure nothing will come of it. But I do think Zambians are getting fed up of the bad decision making in diverse sectors across the development of the nation, this will be an interesting year indeed.

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