So I’m a little disappointed. Every so often the stars align and give us an opportunity to shine. Such an opportunity presented itself this past week when Forbes Africa was launched. A while back I wrote a piece speculating on who would be the lucky bugger to grace the cover of the mag. I was hoping for some innovation. I was hoping the magazine would grab this opportunity to tell us something we don’t know and show us a face we had not seen. They chose to not do that. Guess who they put on the cover? South Africans will no doubt get this right.
Before I get labelled as a jealous hater, let it be known that I am avid admirer of the man. He is undoubtedly The Man. I have nothing but bucket loads of applause for him. It is always a pleasure to hear of his success, even though no matter how much I read about his ever-increasing mountain of millions my bank balance remains the same. I wish just reading about rich people made their wealth rub off on you.
Patrice Motsepe “Africa’s Man of Mettle” stands tall and proud on the cover, the definition of power. I’m guessing the logic is if they put some unknown face on the cover we’ll just walk right past it. Patrice has a pull effect the magazine wanted to take advantage of. I feel like a child. Remember those moments when your parents were right and that annoyed you to no end. They’re right; I can’t eat that much pudding, but eish I still want the stuff. The editors are right, Patrice is the perfect man for the first cover, but eish I wanted someone else.
Nevertheless I won’t let my disappointment in the cover rob me of the enjoyment of the rest of the magazine. You can’t cancel the whole parade because of a few clowns. The magazine is awesome and truly inspiring. It includes first ever list of the most influential women in Africa. Our beloved Graca Machel came in 15th place. Angola’s Isabel dos Santos (whom I mentioned in the first piece I did on Forbes Africa) slotted herself in comfortably in 7th place and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the crown.
These lists are interesting and are to be expected from the good folks at Forbes, but I spy with my little eye some wilting sales figures for the magazine. Team Forbes are going to have a tough time keeping or even getting the youth interested in this publication. For those who have not been living in caves of ignorance know that the youth are running the show now. Marketers, entertainers and even politicians have had to get hip the fact that if you want to win, you better get the kids involved. Think of Vodacom’s recent transmogrification. They did a complete 180 and have now taken on a more youth-friendly demeanor. And it’s working like a charm for them.
Forbes will have no problem attracting the 50-something-year-old CEOs and professors, but will the dude on the street, who is busy tweeting about Nonhle Thema and bumping his head to Culoe de Song’s latest masterpiece pay any attention to this publication – and sustained attention is what we want? I suspect Team Forbes has a long list of Ministers of What What, and Presidents of Far Away lined up for the cover. I’m certain they have the economists on their mark and ready to shoot out some convoluted comment as soon as one is needed. No doubt there is a tsunami of pie charts, bar graphs, and stats headed our way. But will we buy it? Every month? I’m trying to be optimistic about this but it’s proving to be an uphill battle. I will say however, that I would not mind being wrong here. I want this magazine to flourish and rid the world (and Africans themselves for that matter) of the image they have of Africa: dust, famine, and bullets.
– Keitumetse Segoai