Place Branding as a Means for Negotiating for an African identity: A Personal Reflection of Myths, Roles and Perspectives in Kenya

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Maingi, S.W.
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The recreation of an indigenous identity for Africa has undergone significant challenge. The very nature of a dynamic global, socio-economic environment has created a political quagmire within African societies. Such that, community priorities have changed to address fundamental issues facing livelihoods. The need for subsistence, success and economic empowerment has created the need for identity and sustenance. Social dynamics within African contexts have indicated a strong western influence as well as an evolved identity. Additionally, the post-colonial legacies in Kenyan contexts has widely contributed towards reshaping the true meaning of 'indigenous'. The preserved pre and post colonial existence and histories have created local myths and legacies of the ideal African identity. Though, envisioned within the context of hugely heterogenous ethnic identities, we are faced with a legacy of an altruist society. This paper therefore seeks to open a dialogue on the evolution of a post-modern cultural individuality that is guided by personal reflections of self and social meanings in Kenya. Reflective thinking as a methodology is widely accepted in qualitative research as a means of 'facilitative reflexivity' and 'clarifying individual belief systems and subjectivities ' as noted by Michael Ortlipp in his paper on Keeping and using reflective journals in the Qualitative research process. David & Gannon (2003)i support this supposition by noting that, "the assumptions made about the nature of, and relations between, subjects, the texts they produce and the conceptual tools and strategies that are used to analyze them are useful models". Naturally, roles of the Kenyan identity are a reflection of actual natural and (or) recreated events and happenings within Kenyan history. A self reflection on the meanings of these events in building an identity of Kenya is hereby discussed in the paper. Analogies with brand image perceptions of Kenya as a tourism destination are also discussed. Conclusively, this paper identifies the unique roles of an African identity as a destination and what it means for Africans themselves.
Place Branding, Destination marketing, Identity, Self reflexivity, Kenya