|Limpopo public relations professionals striving to remain relevant|
– by Malesela Maubane PRP
Former South African President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done." On that note, Limpopo public relations and communication management professionals on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 gathered at Fusion Boutique, a five star hotel in Polokwane for the re-launch of the region of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) under the theme, “Reclaiming our profession and remaining relevant in society.”
The gathering attracted current members, prospective members, members of the business community and the media. It was indeed a case of, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” as Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once wrote. Establishing strategic relationships was identified as key for the region as it moves forward; as such the re-launch breakfast and networking session was also made possible by sponsorship from Nationwide Transport Media (NTMedia), a Polokwane based company specialising in Above The Line (ATL) and Indoor Digital Bus Advertising (IDBA).
PRISA President-elect, Mr Lungile Lose APR congratulated Limpopo on its effort to resuscitate an active professional body in the province and said: “You have PRISA’s Board and the nationwide PRISA branch network to call upon for support at any time because we appreciate your commitment to PRISA and to the public relations and communication management profession.”
“Public relations and communication management has a positive contribution to make to the bottom line of an organisation but the challenge is how we convince our organisations and our principals that this is the case in this era where accountants rule and if anything that cannot be measured it is relegated to the bottom in terms of importance. The work of public relations and communication management professionals’ culminates into a sustained positive reputation of the organisation”, Lose added.
Outlining the region’s 2014 plans, the convenor, Mr Naledzani Rasila CPRP said: “We have decided to arrange this public relations colloquium so that we are able to be a buffer for our profession. Teachers, lawyers, engineers, nurses and doctors have their own professional bodies, what about us public relations professionals?”
Its plans include growing membership in Limpopo, organising at least two networking sessions in February and April, further taking the region to its Annual General Meeting (AGM) around May 2014. The region draws its membership from the private and public sectors.
The region will also contribute towards skills development as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP). Strategic partnerships with the Universities of Limpopo, Venda and South Africa present an opportunity for us to enhance the quality of public relations and communication management graduates coming into the corporate world. Skills development will also be achieved through establishment of a regional student chapter where we will be embarking on mentoring programmes.
Limpopo’s full interim committee is made up of capable and dedicated men and women in Mr Naledzani Rasila CPRP (convenor), Mr Malesela Maubane PRP (coordinator), Mrs Welheminah Mabogo CPRP (member), Miss Phindile Manganyi PRP (member) and Mr Elias Setati PRP (member). The committee can do with support and dedication on the members’ part.
“As the region embarks on a journey towards the creation of a legacy in public relations and communication management, allow me therefore to quote former Burkina Faso President, Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara when he said: “It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.”
Mpika Mabunda, a delegate, representing all present said: “We commend efforts made towards the re-launch of PRISA in this province. Even traditional healers have their own organisation. Public relations professionals now have theirs.”
The Limpopo region is statistically known for educating a large number of students in public relations and communication management. It is therefore exciting that this province is now organised under the PRISA banner with over 40 current registered members.
I conclude with words from Patrice Motsepe, executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals and Sundowns Football Club President: “One has to set high standards and keep on evaluating ourselves against them all the time. I can never be happy with mediocre performances.” This is then a call for all of us to reclaim our space in organisations and society whilst demonstrating public relations value-add.
Fourth from left, PRISA President-Elect, Lungile Lose APR with PRISA Limpopo Interim Regional Committee members, left to right: Malesela Maubane PRP (coordinator), Naledzani Rasila CPRP (convenor), Welheminah Mabogo CPRP (member), Lungile Lose APR, Phindile Manganyi PRP (member) and Elias Setati PRP (member) during the re-launch breakfast.
Delegates at the PRISA Limpopo regional re-launch breakfast in Polokwane
Pictures Courtesy of Real Deal Studios