Monday Musings 25 October: Is it a Bones Day?

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A few years ago a friend attended a conference. Seated at a table with Americans she was enjoying listening to their stories and quietly sharing her experiences. And an American suddenly said, “How very South African of you.” Excuse me?  

He went onto to explain that Americans are naturally confident and happy to share their achievements – in other words, not backwards in coming forwards. South Africans, on the other hand, are quite good at hiding our light under a bushel. The story has stuck with me.  

Fast forward a few years, and another friend leaves for the UK to take a up a rather senior position in a public health NGO. As you can imagine, her imposter syndrome and inferiority complex indicators are immediately off the charts. Until she discovers that actually, South Africa’s tech, processes and capabilities are world-class – far better than in her new position.  

I wonder why so many of us downplay our abilities or success? (Spoiler alert: I don’t know the answer.) But if you are feeling down or despondent it is worth remembering that South Africans are, in the main, flipping good at what we do.  

It’s why our scientists and lobby groups have been credited with not only getting South Africa off the red list, but all other African countries too. It’s why South African scientists are on the frontline of the pandemic – and our genome sequencing is considered the best in the world.  

And our tourism and hospitality sectors? First class. It’s why South Africa is among the 10 Countries Americans feel safest about visiting; or why Cape Town has been named Africa’s Leading City Destination for 2021 at the 28th annual World Travel Awards; and why Forbes Magazine has us on the list of the 20 best places to travel in 2021 or that Outside Magazine has the Kruger Shalati hotel on their 2022 bucket list.  

So if you’re having a no bones day (see below) please remind yourself that when it comes to talent or tenacity – this country has it in spades.  

If you’ve been anywhere near social media over the last few days, you will have seen people deciding whether today is a ‘bones day’ or a ‘no bones’ day. Umm what? 

Let me introduce you to a very grumpy, very geriatric pug called Noodle (age 13 and counting). Who the world is fast falling in love with thanks to his owner, Jonathon Graziano and TikTok.  

For the past two months, Graziano has picked up his elderly pug to a sitting stance, then he lets go to see if Noodle will hold the position (bones) or flop back to bed (no bones). 

It’s hard to describe just how ‘bonelessly’ Noodle manages to flop back to bed. You’ll just have to watch all the TikToks here.

Not only will it give you a smile, but you’ll instantly relate. Some days are just no bones days. Especially when you’re coming to end of a very long and challenging year but because you work in tourism you have to pick yourself up and shake yourself off and get ready for the season. Bones.  

Much like the Two Oceans Aquarium’s 2010 World Cup celebrity predictor, Paul the Octopus, Noodle is a bit of a (this time, four-legged) psychic. Will it be a bones day? In other words an uber-productive day perfect for completing tasks or taking on new projects. Or will it be a no bones day? In other words, be a little more kind to yourself.

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There’s no doubt about it, Noodle is the latest Internet sensation. He has 2.5 million followers – and has even been referenced in the Pentagon. (I wonder if it was a Bones day?) 

If you are feeling tired, or overwhelmed at the thought of what has to happen between now and the end of the year, pay attention the following bit of advice: 

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.” 

Remember to put the glass down. 

Mindful Musings 

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Marketing Musings 

Two of the biggest marketing stories this week were undoubtedly Facebook’s imminent rebrand and the Gareth Cliff/John Steenhuisen/Nando’s debacle.  

Firstly, Facebook. Apparently, the social networking company is seriously considering a name change, or at the very least, separating its corporate brand from its apps.  

Why I hear you ask? There are a few theories doing the rounds, including the fact that the Facebook brand has received sustained and serious damage over the last few years; that younger generations simply don’t see the brand as cool; that FB execs don’t see the Facebook app as the future of the company; or that Mark Zuckerberg has his sights trained on controlling the metaverse

Regardless, the Internet has had far too much fun over the last week with their suggestions for a new name. My favourites: ZuckBook, BookFace, TrollBook, FaceSpace,, FaceCrook, FacePalm, TraceBook, and (my favourite) Facey-McFacePlant. I think if we’re talking reputation management, that ship has sailed. 

Secondly, Nando’s. Without going into the ins and outs of the drama, it was interesting to see just how long it took Nando’s to respond.  

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For a brand that is known for its newsjacking and lightning-quick responses (complete with snappy copy and design) when it comes to current affairs; they took hours to publish their initial response (finally releasing it at nearly 11pm) – with the decision to terminate their sponsorship of Gareth Cliff’s Burning Platform following the next day.  

Clearly there was something going on behind the scenes. Perhaps there was no crisis comms plan in place (surely not?), or the Nando’s team weren’t in agreement on how to respond, or there were lengthy discussions with legal counsel going on in the background (probably).  

At any rate, this is going be used as a case study for both crisis communications and how sponsorships can suddenly go horribly wrong for years to come. Has it made me look at one of South Africa’s most valuable brands (coming in at no. 6) – known for its rapier-sharp wit and saucy repartee – a little differently? Absolutely.  

But the story I found most interesting this week, is how social media lurkers can boost your business. While much is said about metrics and the importance of tracking social media engagement, very little is said about what could be the most sizable, and potentially profitable, segment of your audience: the lurkers. This article is a good reminder that although people don’t actively ‘like’, comment on, engage with, or share your content – it doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention. It’s time to embrace the lurkers.  

What the world was musing over this past week 

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Adventure seekers’ zip slide reopens at Sun City 

Get ready adrenalin junkies: one of the world’s fastest, longest and highest zip slides, the Zip 2000, has reopened at Sun City! 

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South Africa gets its own scrabble board! 

Local is indeed lekker – and South Africa just got our very own version of scrabble. It will make a great gift, especially as Christmas is just around the corner!  


Self-driving race cars make history in Indianapolis 

On Saturday, an autonomous vehicle clocked an average speed of 218 km/h at Indianapolis – ushering self-driving vehicles into a new era.  


A South Africa F1 GP could be confirmed by 2023 

And staying in the fast lane, rumours abound that a South African F1 GP could be on the cards as early as 2023. Circuits in contention? Kyalami, Cape Town, Durban and Elgin!

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Global traveller confidence rises for both business and leisure 

New data from September’s Traveller Confidence Index shows that travellers around the globe are once again regaining their confidence in travel. 

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Flight Centre team unpacks UK travel requirements 

If you missed last week’s Travel Talk with Flight Centre, it was a goodie. The team tackled the UK’s new travel requirements and answered many of their customers’ questions.  

Finally … this is one webinar you don’t want to miss! 

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On Tuesday, Africa Travel Week puts the focus firmly on sustainability – and why it’s a non-negotiable for the future of tourism in Africa. 

Join industry greats Inge Huijbrechts (Global Vice President Responsible Business for Radisson Hotel Group), Hilton Walker (Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Great Plains Conservation), and Paul Gardiner (CEO Mantis Collection) as they share advice on how to implement worthwhile sustainable tourism practices. 

Register here