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Pan-Africanism’s contribution to globalisation of tourism branding

Source: Pan-Africanism’s contribution to globalisation of tourism branding | Sunday Mail (Business)


Charles Mavhunga

PAN-AFRICANISM is an ideology that advocates the unity, solidarity and empowerment of people of African descent worldwide. It seeks to promote the interests and rights of Africans and diaspora communities while working towards the liberation and development of Africa.

Pan-Africanism emerged as a response to the historical injustices inflicted upon Africans during the transatlantic slave trade, colonisation and racial discrimination. It seeks to challenge and dismantle oppressive and racist systems that have marginalised Africans throughout history.

The Pan-Africanist ideology in tourism branding challenges negative stereotypes and perceptions about Africa, promoting a more accurate and positive image of the continent. Pan-Africanism seeks to foster a sense of collective identity and pride among the people of African descent, highlighting their contributions to various fields such as art, literature, music, science and politics.

The major aim is to attract tourists who are interested in experiencing the vibrant and dynamic aspects of African cultures in tourism branding through emphasis on the shared cultural heritage, history and struggles of Africans across the globe.

Pan-Africanism promotes economic self-reliance and political autonomy for African nations, advocating the end of neo-colonialism and exploitation by foreign powers. It calls for the establishment of strong political institutions, economic cooperation and regional integration among African countries.

Prominent figures in the Pan-African movement include Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela.

In Zimbabwe, the following, among others, need special mention:

Joshua Nkomo: He was a Zimbabwean nationalist leader and founding member of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU). He fought for the independence of Zimbabwe and was a key figure in the Pan-Africanist movement.

Herbert Chitepo: He was a Zimbabwean nationalist leader and founding member of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). He played a crucial role in the liberation struggle and advocated Pan-Africanism and African unity.

Josiah Tongogara: He was a military strategist and commander of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA). He was instrumental in the armed struggle against colonial rule and promoted Pan-Africanism as a means to achieve liberation and self-determination.

Pan-Africanism has influenced various political movements, namely, ZANU PF, SWAPO (Namibia), ANC (South Africa), FRELIMO (Mozambique) and UNIP (Zambia), civil rights struggles and cultural expressions in Africa and the diaspora, shaping the fight against racial injustice, and the pursuit of equality.

In tourism branding, Pan-Africanism seeks to restore the African legacy that was vandalised by colonialists during their reign of more than a century. The whole idea is to create a sense of unity and solidarity among African nations, encouraging collaboration and cooperation in the development of tourism infrastructure and services. The contribution of Pan-Africanism to tourism branding is defined by the following critical issues:

  1. Cultural preservation: Pan-Africanism emphasises the preservation and celebration of African cultures, traditions and heritage. This can be achieved by challenging stereotypes and misconceptions that were created by colonialists to distort the history of African people. There are many tourism destinations in Zimbabwe that were culturally destroyed by colonialists, and they include the following:

The Great Zimbabwe National Monument: This is an ancient city complex that was built by the Shona between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was a significant political, economic and cultural centre of Shona civilisation. During the colonial period, the Great Zimbabwe was looted and vandalised by European explorers and settlers. Many artefacts and treasures were stolen and taken out of the country. The colonialists also damaged some of the structures and attempted to erase the cultural significance of the site. However, through the Pan-Africanist ideology, efforts have been made to restore and preserve the Great Zimbabwe as a symbol of Zimbabwe’s rich cultural heritage. Today, it is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and attracts tourists from around the world, who come to admire its impressive stone architecture and learn about the history of the Shona.

Khami Ruins, located near Bulawayo: The site was once the capital of the Kingdom of Butua, a powerful state in pre-colonial Zimbabwe. The ruins feature stone walls, terraces and platforms that were built by the Torwa dynasty between the 14th and 16th centuries. During the colonial era, the Khami Ruins were also subjected to looting and destruction by European settlers. Many artefacts were taken away and some structures were damaged or demolished. However, Pan-Africanists have made efforts to preserve and restore the site. It is now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These examples highlight the destructive impact of colonialism on Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage. However, through the Pan-Africanist ideology, preservation and restoration efforts have been made to save the sites from extinction.

  1. Economic empowerment: Pan-Africanism pushes for economic self-reliance and empowerment of African nations. In the tourism sector, this means promoting local participation in tourism activities in Zimbabwe. The ideology encourages the establishment of locally owned tourism businesses, training and capacity-building for local communities, and ensuring fair distribution of tourism benefits and creation of economic opportunities for all Zimbabweans.
  2. Sustainable development: Pan-Africanism promotes sustainable development practices that prioritise the long-term well-being of African nations. In the context of tourism branding in Zimbabwe, this ideology encourages Zimbabweans to adopt sustainable tourism practices that minimise negative environmental impacts, protect wildlife habitats and conserve natural resources.

This means the tourism business in Zimbabwe is positioned to be responsible and eco-friendly, and can attract environmentally conscious tourists who value sustainable travel experiences. Sustainable tourism also ensures that the experiences and attractions offered to tourists are genuine and reflective of the local communities’ traditions, customs and heritage. This authenticity enhances the overall tourism experience and attracts travellers seeking unique and immersive encounters.

  1. Regional integration: Pan-Africanism fosters regional integration and cooperation among African nations. In the context of tourism branding in Zimbabwe, this ideology encourages collaboration with neighbouring countries to develop cross-border tourism products and itineraries. This serves to promote regional tourism circuits and joint marketing initiatives. In this context, Zimbabwe can tap into larger tourist markets, extend visitor stays and enhance the overall attractiveness of the region as a tourism destination of choice.

In summary, Pan-Africanism adds value to tourism branding in Zimbabwe by offering authentic experiences, driving economic development, empowering local communities, promoting sustainability and providing educational opportunities. The major focus of Pan-Africanism is to enhance the overall attractiveness of tourism products in Zimbabwe and to make tourism more appealing to a wide range of travellers in the global world.

Charles Mavhunga co-authored textbooks in business enterprising skills and is currently studying for a PhD in Management at Bindura University. He can be contacted at: [email protected], Cell:0772989816.