|Year-end Message from the PRISA President|
|SOLLY MOENG APR
I sit here typing this year-end message as South Africa and the world prepare to bury Madiba, our beloved ex-president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela; an icon above icons and the light that shone our way from the darkness of apartheid into the new South Africa, home for all who live in it. The burial will have been completed by the time I finish this message and when you finally get to read it. We would have buried our icon, but not the vast legacy that he has left us, nor the opportunities that lie ahead if we follow his many leadership examples. It resides in each one of us.
In the past ten days, following the passing of Madiba, many messages have been written, tributes presented to crowds of mourners, published in traditional and new media platforms, and broadcast on electronic media, such as radio and television. Social media platforms came to life, offering ordinary men and women a chance to share their Madiba moments and to express their wishes and thoughts in real time. The speed with which these messages criss-crossed the media space buttressed, more than ever before, the importance of timing in modern day communication; an important topic for public relations and communication professionals.
For us at PRISA, the end of the calendar year also marks the mid-point between two annual conferences, and six months since our current board of directors - including the President - were sworn-in. Looking back at this first half of our term in office, I am happy to say that we have engaged with student bodies throughout the country, met with members, renewed ties with practitioners in places like Namibia, and facilitated the establishment of PRISA regions in Limpopo and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. We have also agreed on ‘ways-of-working’ that I believe will go some way to improving the support provided to you, PRISA members, by our national office.
However, our ‘to-do’ list is far from being exhausted! We still have to extend our reach to places like Madagascar, which have invited us to assist with the establishment of a local Chapter in Antananarivo, while also growing our footprint and effectiveness within South Africa’s borders. We continue to collaborate with global bodies such as the Global Alliance, on whose board we have Adele Paulsen as PRISA’s representative, the World Communication ForumDavos - which meets annually alongside the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland - attracting high level practitioners. I have been invited to speak on behalf of PRISA at the next conference in March 2014. The African Public Relations Association (APRA), the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), United Kingdom, as well as, increasingly, PRISA’s counterparts in the BRICS countries are also friend organisations that we will continue collaborating with.
In the next six months, we will continue implementing the promises we made at the last conference, all informed by agreements made at our last strategy session and informed by members’ wishes. Key amongst the next line-up is the rebranding of PRISA, for which a new corporate identity will be launched and communicated.
As you finish another year of many achievements, challenges and lessons, I wish you all a truly peaceful and safe festive season. May the New Year herald greater opportunities for you all!