South Africa in the Washington Post

The front page of South Africa Now, produced for Brand South Africa and published as a supplement in the 6 October 2010 edition of the prestigious Washington Post. (Click to enlarge.)

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South Africa’s unique mix of energy, humanity, sheer doggedness and knack for problem-solving are showcased in a six-page supplement in the prestigious Washington Post newspaper, titled South Africa Now and produced on behalf of Brand South Africa.

The supplement hit the streets of Washington, DC, in the 6 October 2010 edition of the newspaper. It features contributions by Professor Anton Harber, Caxton chair of journalism at Wits University, veteran journalists Simon Barber and John Battersby, AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, US ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips, Jann Turner, the director of hit South African movie White Wedding, and Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa.

Barber, who is also the Washington-based US country manager for Brand South Africa, commissioned Big Media to produce South Africa Now, and edited it in collaboration with Mary Alexander, the former editor of MediaClubSouthAfrica.com.

“With my background as a journalist, I have tended to question the value of supplements like these, figuring they would mostly go unread and land up on the bottom of birdcages,” said Barber.

“Recently, however, Bric nations such as Russia and China started doing supplements in the Washington Post that were actually interesting to read, so I began to have second thoughts. What clinched the deal for me was knowing I could enlist the talents of Big Media’s writers, editors and designers.

“I was confident we could put together something that was truly reflective of Brand South Africa and which would get read not just by Washington decision makers but by the captains of global finance who would be in Washington for the IMF/World Bank annual meetings when we published.”

Printed in full colour, South Africa Now features photography from the MediaClubSouthAfrica.com image library as well as a stunning American-style op-ed illustration by multi-award-winning South African graphic journalist Francois Smit.

The supplement was designed by Irwin Manoim, creative director at Big Media. A newspaper production and design expert with 30 years in the industry, Manoim is a joint founder and former editor of both the Mail & Guardian and the electronic Mail & Guardian, the first online newspaper in Africa and one of the few and pioneering mid-1990s web-based newspapers in the world.

“The message of South Africa Now is that South Africa matters, that it’s a country of smart, creative people who have their own ways of doing things and who are making a difference globally,” said Barber.

The supplement leads with an exploration of South Africa’s ambitious efforts to balance a growing economy with the need to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, with the most recent example being plans for a huge, US$21-billion, 5,000 megawatt solar park and a smaller solar installation on the island where Nelson Mandela was once jailed.

The front page also features a look at Soweto, a book by Jodie Bieber, the South African photographer now most famous for the now-iconic and shocking Time magazine cover featuring the mutilated face of 18-year-old Afghani girl Aisha.

Elsewhere in the supplement Motlanthe looks at Africa’s place in the new economic world order, and Cutifani examines why South Africa’s past makes it a good place to do business in the future. Harber discusses media freedom in South Africa, Matola reports on efforts to fix Africa’s brand, and Turner writes about the “normal, crazy, mixed-up country” that inspired White Wedding.

Want to read more? Download South Africa Now in PDF format (2.2 MB), or read selected articles online:

Powering towards a green economy
South Africa plans to build a massive $21.8-billion, 5 000 MW solar park in its semi-desert Northern Cape province as part of an aggressive push to grow its highly industrialised economy without increasing its carbon footprint.

The everyday beauty of Soweto
South African photographer Jodi Bieber has a special ability to bring out the beauty in the ordinary, even the disfigured. On the cover of Time magazine she made a mutilated Afghani girl look beautiful, and in her latest book Soweto she makes everyday township life shine.

Launchpad to a billion consumers
By offering to acquire Massmart for some $4.2-billion, Wal-Mart has joined the parade of global companies looking to South Africa as a springboard into what is increasingly seen as the world’s last great investment frontier.

A trek to the start of time
It will probe the edges of our universe. It will be a virtual time machine, helping scientists explore the origins of galaxies. It’s the Square Kilometre Array, and South Africans are at the heart of its development.

Brewing up a global brand
Miller Lite. Tastes great. Less filling. And brought to you by world-beating South African company SABMiller.

Looking south and east for growth
As the shift in global economic power gains momentum, South Africa’s trade is moving eastwards and southwards in a pattern that both reflects the worldwide trend and helps drive it, writes John Battersby.

More than just a celluloid Mandela
There is a special bond between Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and the man he played in the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus, South African statesman Nelson Mandela.

Africa in the new world order
Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s deputy president, looks at how African economies’ resilient performance during the global financial crisis points to the continent’s new place in a changing world.

Mining history for new solutions
Mark Cutifani, CEO of the multinational AngloGold Ashanti mining company, examines why South Africa’s past is key to successfully doing business here in the future.

Turning up the media volume
Since 1990, South Africa has been a noisy place. After decades of apartheid censorship, the lifting of restrictions on the media led to a cacophony of debate. For the first time in centuries, everyone could be heard, and it was sometimes deafening, writes Anton Harber.

A joule of an energy-efficient car
South Africa, which builds BMWs and Mercedes Benzes for the US market, is in the thick of the race to deliver a truly practical – and stylish – electric car. Meet the Joule.

South Africa: Time to believe
The forgiving philosophy of “ubuntu” helps explain how South Africa managed to transcend its turbulent apartheid past and create a unified democracy, writes Simon Barber.

Finding sound real estate investment
South Africa’s post-apartheid transformation and new middle class are fuelling demand for affordable homes. For private equity fund International Housing Solutions, that means opportunity.

My normal, crazy, mixed-up country
South African hit movie White Wedding is now showing in the US to rave reviews. Jann Turner, who directed and jointly wrote and produced the film, writes about the place that inspired it – South Africa.

Bring on the braai
All South Africans love it – including Nobel peace prize-winning Desmond Tutu – and its rich, smoky smell floats over the country every Sunday. Celebrate the braai with our great recipe for making boerewors, traditional South African farmer’s sausage.