Orange Africa Cup of Nations – Monday 06 February 2012
Now I’m all for creativity and cleverness of design, but it is me or are the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots just plainly odd and therefore don’t fit the bill? Having read about the story behind the names used for the mascots (Wenlock and Mandeville), I can see the reasoning. However, in terms of appearance they look like one-eyed blobs – what the hell have they got to do with London? Well from their design the only thing I can see is the taxi light which each mascot has on top of its head and which is supposedly “…inspired by the London taxi…” Is that it? To me they don’t convey anything that says the Olympics are being held in England, let alone London or indeed that they are mascots for a sporting event.
What you may ask has this to do with the Africa Cup of Nations? In watching the games and researching various aspects of the tournament, I came across the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations mascot named Gaguie. Now you might think the name is from an old African dialect. In fact it is an amalgamation of the countries names who are co-hosting the tournament (Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). Simple, yet so effective. So what is Gaguie? Gaguie is a gorilla, but a gorilla with a message and was chosen as a symbol “…that represents the biodiversity and fauna of the central African ecosystems, spaces where both ecologic treasures suffer the danger of disappearance…” (from the Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea). Gaguie wears a football shirt which is blue, green and white (colours from the flags of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). Again incredibly straightforward reasoning yet conveys the message of unity of the two co-hosting countries. Also, Gaguie is never seen without a football or in football action, so when looking at the mascot we know what sport it is representing. Some may say that it is all too simplistic. Really? I know which I prefer and which to me represents both the event, country and carries a serious message.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what the respective budgets were for the creation of the London 2012 mascots and the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations?