The Zulu community is mooted as Africa's most powerful traditional nation. Although largely based in South Africa's province of Kwazulu-Natal which is home to the royal household, the nation is said to have over 30 million followers that spread throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. The community has been ruled by many famous kings including Dingaan, Shaka and Cetshwayo who represented a nation as fearless as they were powerful.
For the last 42 years, the nation has been represented by King Goodwill Zwelithini whose reign has experienced much of the vast change in South Africa during this time, and who has successfully lead his nation throughout. His role is very much that of a modern monarch, combining deep traditions, customs and the essence of being a Zulu with changing contemporary society. One of the nation's recent initiatives has been to partner with another icon of South Africa, their wines. The result has been very successful.
The initiative lead by Antoinette Vermooten's team at Bayede has lead to the creation of a brand around the distinctly Zulu greeting "Hail the King" and a Royal certification. The initiative also includes the novel concept of selling wines with Zulu beadwork adorning the neck label of the bottles, thus creating demand for local leaders. The model has been so successful that it has been taught at local business university Gibbs and the wines are sold in distribution networks that include Walmart.
What makes this so relevant to this blog is that it is an example of the fusion of modern intellectual property systems with traditional imagery and expression of an African nation. The brand is Bayede! is protected by a trade mark and certification marks, the Zulu crest, symbolism and emblems are state emblems that are protected by heraldic laws, Article 6ter of the Paris Convention and by local laws of passing off and statute. Afro-IP supports this initiative.