Africanbank forges a way into the future with a new logo after its founder’s passing

Africanbank group chief marketing officer Sbusiso Kumalo.

Africanbank group chief marketing officer Sbusiso Kumalo.

Published May 17, 2024


AT THE recent passing of its founder, Dr Sam Motsuenyane, Africanbank is stepping into a new era of growth and innovation. Yesterday it unveiled a revamped logo and a new campaign message, “Africanbank backs you”.

For major long-standing South African brands, it takes great deal of courage to change a logo, key messages and other accoutrements of corporate identity, as the brand could lose or even alienate its existing client base that has been built up over a long period of time with the previous branding.

"We celebrate this growth at a time of sadness as we remember our founder, Dr Sam Motsuenyane. His triumph in establishing South Africa’s first black bank was a victory for us all and his story remains a source of inspiration,” Africanbank group chief marketing officer Sbusiso Kumalo said yesterday. Motsuenyane died on April 29, aged 97.

“This transformation is not merely cosmetic. It reflects the bank’s dedication to its core values and the communities it serves,” he added.

Over the past 18 months, Africanbank has made significant strides in expanding its reach and impact within the financial landscape. The acquisitions of Grindrod Bank and Ubank have not only bolstered the balance sheet, but also signalled a shift towards a more diversified financial ecosystem within the bank.

Africanbank’s new logo. Supplied.

Kumalo said the corporate identity refresh was another step forward and was part of the bank’s Excelerate25 strategy that was launched in 2021.

“Brand upgrades are more than just a fresh coat of paint. They are a strategic investment in staying connected to our audience, adapting to market changes and reinforcing our brand’s values and promises. They signal our commitment to innovation and customer experience,” he said.

The new logo was designed to encapsulate the journey of Africanbank from its inception in 1975 to its present-day status as a symbol of financial empowerment. It aimed to not only echo the bank’s rich heritage, but also signify resilience, innovation and the power of audacity.

The design also represented the amalgamation of three banks – Africanbank, Grindrod Bank and Ubank – into one brand, with a new look and feel, he said.

“As we mourn the loss of this extraordinary man, we celebrate his many contributions to the country. As Africanbank, we have vowed to honour his legacy by ensuring that his vision of a bank for the people, by the people, serving the people will be realised,” said Kumalo.

The bank’s original shareholders have lost their shareholding since it was placed under curatorship in 2014, and from which it emerged in 2016. Currently the Reserve Bank owns 50% of the bank, with the Government Employees Pension Fund owning the next biggest stake at 25%. Reports suggest the bank will pursue a re-listing on the JSE in the future.