The recent shocking events around the Africa Cup of Nations where the Togo national soccer team was attacked leaving three dead takes brand Africa several steps back. Africa is finally going to host the world cup mid 2010 with South Africa taking this gigantic responsibility for the continent. This should be good news but if the media is to be believed then a heavy cloud is hanging over the world cup as a result of the Cabinda incident. Are there any lessons here? What should have been done and more importantly, what should be done now for the sake of the continent’s brand?

The rebranding of Africa, a long road that seemed to finally have been taken is now that much rockier. Brand Africa will not rise from the ashes it has always wallowed in through nice speeches and pretty adverts meant to showcase the continent’s exotic side while shoving the real issues under the carpet.

Togo, though wounded, could probably have played a significant part in rebranding Africa by staying in the tournament. Its belated request to return to the Africa Cup of Nations has just been turned down by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), probably in protest to a nation that forsook the brotherhood of the African continent as soon as things got a tough.

Africa’s rebranding will be complete when Africans themselves finally believe in Africa, even when all is not well.

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