Public Relations are usually a messy affair because they often have to do with the tidying of messy affairs. Our correspondent Sasha-Lee Marivel, recently participated in the 26th All African Public Relations Conference, held in Mauritius.
Here is Sasha’s account of the event, which she helped plan with the APRA.
Adventures with Sasha-Lee
Ever been in a conference hall filled with leaders and delegates from the African continent? Well I have, and trust me it can get pretty noisy. Opinions on “Africanism” fly back and forth, outrage over the West is expressed, and everyone has ideas on how to better Africa as we know it.
For the past weeks I have been interning at a communications firm. While it was very stressful, it was also extremely gratifying. The conference we helped prepare was for the African Public Relations Agency (APRA), that was hosting the 26th All African Public Relations Conference here in Mauritius, with some of the key leaders in public relations from Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa, to name a few.
Some interesting points were raised during the three day conference at the five-star hotel Le Meridien, namely that Africa as a continent needs to learn to embrace the use of social media. Due to the constant complaint of low funds, this would be a great way to promote a united Africa, because the use of social media is free. Another speaker from Egypt, Mrs. Hoda Halim Abouseif, pointed out that African leaders need to learn from their predecessors. She took example from her own country, with the constant political turmoil, and how it seems the same mistakes are repeated over and over again simply because leaders refuse to heed to advice and observe the previous presidencies and take note of what to do and not do.
Other speakers, such as Blast Communications‘ leader Mrs. Mosaheb, raised issues on how Mauritius as a country has failed the African continent in trying to promote and represent the nation. It has ignored its belonging to the African continent, and has not focused its resources well on their public relations strength.
The three day session ended with a stimulating and thought-provoking question and answer forum. Many delegates from Nigeria and Ghana struggled to express what really was the outrage, that if they should portray a united Africa, then they should truly be proud of where they come from to begin with. One delegate even stood up and pointed out that while he is Kenyan, he was wearing Western clothing instead of the traditional clothing some of the women chose to wear that day. So why reject help from the West? Cheers and nods of approval followed.
The conference ended on a note of unity, and the passion to advance Africa on a public relations front. Discussion continued long after the session had ended, in the hotel restaurant over dinner, and over verandas and café corners. News coverage will help promote the ideas the delegates expressed that week, however only time will tell how long the effect will last.