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Is the British Royal Family a Global Brand or Its simple Inferiority Complex on African Part.

26 Sep 2019 at 15:32hrs | Views
It's hard to imagine the monarchs of Murehwa and Masvingo selling souvenir tchotchkes in quite the same way as the British Monarch.  South Africa is gripped with the euphoria of the visit of Prince Harry and his family. The whole continent grinds to a halt in amusement as they marvel at the royal family members gracing their neighbour, South Africa.

The pomp and extra royalty given on the royals always leaves a lot to be desired. Africa stampedes to welcome the British royals but they give no notice to their own. The way the royal family is respected invokes the colonial error. The press contributes enormously to the interest raised on the British monarch.

Regardless of how people felt about the British royal family, they would have been hard-pressed to avoid the image of Queen Elizabeth II in London - and in much of the world - during the late spring of 2012. The year marked the queen's "diamond jubilee," celebrating 60 years with Elizabeth II on the throne. From an optician's window on Kensington High Street, the monarch appeared encased in an ornate gold frame and surrounded by signs proclaiming a £50 discount. Nearby, on Piccadilly Circus, photos taken at different stages of her life beamed from souvenir shortbread tins, coffee mugs, tea towels, and miscellaneous tchotchkes. Every Briton lifts up the name of their queen or any offspring of the royal therefore, such that by the time the fame is spread throughout Britain they will still have more to import to the Africans and indeed the whole world. The British have mastered the art of advertising their royals to an extent that one looks down upon his own royal favouring the British one. By the time the British finish selling their brand royal it will look like any other royal is inferior to the one Britain.

The most painful thing is that even those who championed rights and waged wars of freedom, take their turns to undermine their own royals and praise the royals of others. The South African government gives Harry the presidential treatment and on the same breath ignore their own royals.

The royal families in Africa are reduced to chiefs and not kings, their domain is categorised in districts while the royals of Britain bundle the nations they have defeated together under the name common wealth. African countries beg to be included in the commonwealth so that they can pay their respects to the royals of United Kingdom at the expense of their own royals.

But the brand of the British royal family doesn't belong to Britain alone. Even as the world has seen a marked decline in the number of crowned heads, especially in Europe, since the beginning of the 20th century, Queen Elizabeth II and her family continue to attract worldwide fascination. In 2011, millions of people in 180 countries watched the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. During the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics the following year, 900 million viewers worldwide watched Elizabeth II play herself in a skit delivering secret orders to the British spy James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) before parachuting with him, via stunt double, into Olympic Stadium. Meanwhile, British tabloids and online media beam royal missteps and debacles around the world.

And while the successful branding of the British royal family is partially a product of Britain's historic role in the world, the willing participation of the nations who believe that they are free yet bound by the need to be subjects to royal family sings more loudly than the history.

 "Royal-watching" has historically attracted much of the citizenry in what is now known as Great Britain. Until the broad-scale development of mass media in the late 19th century, people typically learned about royal activities through proclamations "nailed on the market cross, read aloud by a sheriff or other local official, or circulated and reported in [a] village or alehouse," according to the historian Kevin Sharpe in Selling the Tudor Monarchy. Until recently, many royal rituals were regarded as private, and sometimes secretive, affairs of state rather than occasions for public cultural celebration. The British royals increased their presence at the processionals that preceded coronations, funerals, and triumphal civic pageants celebrating victories over enemies on the battlefield, according to historical records. It is ironical that the royals celebrate their victories against Africa through the common wealth and it is the Africans who embrace the celebrations. Yet royal-watching has not always been a tourist activity. Kings and queens were under constant pressure to replenish their royal treasuries and to rouse and replace lost troops, equipment, and transportation. With warrior kings often as likely to plunder their own subjects as protect them, the notion of engaging in any kind of royal-themed tourist experiences, or of collecting souvenirs or traveling to seek royal encounters, would have been unfathomable.

Defenders of the monarchy often argue that it is a vital tourist draw. In truth, except for the specific records of how many people visit a particular site, it is very difficult to accurately assess the economic impact of royal tourism. The importance of the royals in any given country is perpetuated by its people.

While we might want to blame the UK for their superiority complex, the blame squarely falls on the African royals. It is rare for our kings to be innovative or try to do things for charity. Our chiefs always want to keep their activities in total secrecy which has done no good but managed to keep the people away from their royalty. Our governments have not taken it upon themselves to place our royals on the high table for the world to marvel.

Credit must be given to the Swazi Royals; the Swazi people have pride in their culture and are seriously proud of their monarch. They publish all rituals like reed dance and incwala ceremonies. These have put Swaziland on the map. The Royal respect is echoed it is not forced on people. If only Africa could stand up and be counted then we will reap the fruits of our beautiful culture.

Our kings' chiefs' headmen must come down to the levels of reality and accommodate people so that their gesture will be returned.
Unless we learn to give respect on our royalty we will remain looked down upon and we will spend all our lives praising the British royals while sitting on the throats of our own.

vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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