By Timo Shihepo
Windhoek - The SADC Communication and Promotional Strategy of 2016-2020 is set to help bring more visibility to the SADC flag and anthem.
Currently, it’s not mandatory to hoist the SADC flag nor sing the SADC anthem during national events held in member states. This, however, is set to change with the introduction of the Communication and Promotional Strategy of 2016-2020.
The Southern Times is reliably informed that during the Council of Ministers meeting held in Namibia in March, it was decided that member states should start singing the SADC anthem along with national anthems and hoist the SADC flag alongside with the national flags in SADC meetings and events as one way of promoting SADC and its community building symbols.
The March decision was confirmed this week by Namibia’s deputy minister of information and communication technology, Engel Nawatiseb.
“It’s true that there is a high-level commitment to promote the brand and identity of SADC. Consequently, I urge you to promote this initiative by hoisting the SADC flag along national flags and singing the SADC anthem along national anthems in your respective institutions and member states,” Nawatiseb said.
Nawatiseb added that an update was expected to be provided during the SADC Regional Adjudication Committee (RAC) meeting on what member states had done in the implementation of the plan for the SADC Communication and Promotional Strategy of 2016-2020, which was meant to facilitate effective communication and promote the region.
The RAC meeting was held in Windhoek this week.
SADC Secretariat’s senior officer, communication and public relations, Barbara Lopi, weighed in by saying that the successful implementation of the SADC Communications and Promotional Strategy required support from the ministers responsible for public information and communication in the SADC member states.
“We are appealing for your continued support in facilitating increased awareness and knowledge about the activities of SADC and their impact. Let me take this opportunity to also extend the SADC Secretariat’s gratitude to all the member states for their support and commitment towards making SADC regional programmes visible, and for the SADC Council of Ministers for approving the introduction of the singing of the SADC anthems during SADC meetings,” she said.
Meanwhile, the SADC Regional Adjudication Committee (RAC) met here this week to deliberate on the 24th edition of the SADC media awards.
The meeting started on June 17 and ended on June 21.
The SADC media awards, which were established in 1996, are aimed recognising best media work in disseminating information on SADC to support the process of regional co-operation and integration in the region.
Under the SADC media awards competition, journalists from the region compete in four categories namely; photography, print, television and radio journalism. The deadline for entries was 31 March.
Speaking at the official opening of the SADC media awards adjudicating meeting, SADC Secretariat’s senior officer, communication and public relations, Barbara Lopi, said the SADC media awards, were one of the programmes that had been put in place to incentivise media coverage of SADC programmes and activities.
At the same meeting, Engel Nawatiseb, Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology, said the awards encouraged the media in the region to play a leading role in disseminating information in order to support the process of regional co-operation and integration.
He urged the adjudicators to be professional and fair so that the deserving and hardworking journalists would be rewarded for their work.
“Having gone through the National Adjudication Committee (NAC) for scrutiny, short listed journalists are trusting you with adjudication that should be done fairly as these journalists are working hard towards the promotion of regional integration and socio-economic development for our region. Media coordinators in your respective member states, I urge you to continue ensuring that the public is well educated about the work that SADC does, awareness creation is important as the information empowers the citizens,” he said.
According to the SADC Secretariat, 31 entries were received from 11 SADC member states, namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The four first prize winners will travel to the 39th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in August to receive their awards and a prize of US$2 500 per category. The runners-up will receive US$1 000 each through their national contact persons.
At the meeting, Lopi also highlighted the successful implementation of the SADC Communications and Promotional Strategy that requires support from the ministers responsible for public information and communication in the SADC member states, and appealed for member states continued support in facilitating increased awareness and knowledge about the activities of SADC and their impact, as well as facilitating journalists coming to cover SADC meetings entry into the country.
“I stand here with a deep sense of gratitude that through the continued support from the SADC member states, as a secretariat, we have been able to make good progress from the last time we met as RAC, in June 2018, in the Republic of South Africa. We have continued to make good progress in communicating, and facilitating communication of the SADC programmes, and a full report to this effect will be presented later in the week during a session where all the member states present will make presentations on how they have been communicating SADC programmes,” she said.