RESPECT FOR AFRICA, ITS LAND AND ITS PEOPLE
A logo is the symbolic essence of a company. The Great Plains Logo is a message from the past to the future of what its ambitions were and should be.
What we aspire to in Great Plains is a deep understanding of why we exist.
Choosing a symbol of a company or association anchors you, and when we first drew out our logo based on the ancient icons of Africa, it was as an encoded message to those who take on the running of Great Plains 20, 50, 100 years from now, to do with an eye to the respect for Africa, its land and its people. It’s even more grounded in those values as the work Botho (in Setswana) or Ubuntu (in Zulu and other languages). It means ‘respect’ in all things.
When we started the company, Dereck Joubert, as the company’s founder, looked for iconic images that were both timeless but spoke to Africa, and he wanted to understand their meaning. It was important to also find the ‘original’ symbol in many ways, one that paid homage to the way those ancients lived in, interacted with, and respected nature.
So many safari companies add a drawing of a lion, Kilimanjaro or a leopard, sometimes inside a butterfly! Our symbol needed to reach beyond one animal but to the custodians of all animals, the people, ancient and culturally unique across the continent because all conservation successes lie in that fragile interface between people and nature.
Dereck started to study not just the obvious sun, moon and stars references but any that linked us to the WAY we once appreciated and revered nature. So he looked back at the enduring symbols of Africa and our people first and found a version of the range of triangles in almost every culture.
Kenya’s Maasai face painting frequently shows triangles with complex layers. The Tsonga people of Mozambique and Eastern Zimbabwe have this in all their carved doors. The Dogon people of Mali, the Ndebele of Eastern Southern Africa, and almost every Bantu-based society have the same iconic symbols.
The symbolism of this shape is always associated with its three sides, signifying a variety of triads such as:
- Birth, Life & Death
- Heaven, Earth & Humans
- Mind, Body & Soul
- Mother, Father & Child
WHAT WE PLACE ON THE LAND IS TEMPORARY
So, suppose you relook at the Great Plains Conservation logo. In that case, you may notice these but also some new details within it, besides the triangles, mainly that the line or rectangles above the triangles represent the buildings we add representing our camps and that they are faded, hand-drawn with purposely weathered sections. These indicate our attitude to building in Nature, and in the wild, in that what we place on top of those ancient hills and plains (triangles) should be temporary.
TREAD WITH A LIGHT FOOTPRINT
Similarly, back on our logo, on the two ends, the lines are again purposely missing sections, an imperfection in the drawing, but by design, a reference to our ‘promise’ to Africa to be transient and with a light footprint. What Dereck likes about Persian carpets, for example, is that those who make them always weave in a flaw, believing that they are assuming god-like status if it is perfect. Similarly, these missing bits in our logo keep us humble.