World Cup

World Cup

  • NGO Support Messages for Bafana Bafana

    South African NGOs have expressed their support and encouragement for the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    They have also wished the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and other relevant stakeholders a successful hosting of this historical soccer showpiece, which takes place for the first time on the African continent since inception in 1930.

    To view the NGO support messages for Bafana Bafana, click here

    If you would like your NGO’s message to be added to the list, please forward it to (no more than 50 words / logo optional).

  • World Cup: NGO Support Messages for Bafana Bafana

    The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup presents all South Africans with an opportunity to showcase our country to the rest of the world.

    It is also an opportunity to unite behind our team, Bafana Bafana, and with the support of millions of vuvuzelas, take on the best teams in the world.

    South African NGOs are in full support of Bafana Bafana and the successful hosting of the World Cup. See the various "NGO messages of support" listed below.

    If you would like to add your NGO's message to the list, please forward it to (no more than 50 words).

    Let's show our "NGO support" for our team and country!!!
    Organisation Messages of Support
    The Mvula Trust, South Africa’s leading water and sanitation NGO, joins the millions of South Africans supporting Bafana Bafana in their bid to raise the World Cup. May the Boys do us proud and inspire all of us to realize what is possible in South Africa.
    May the winds be at your back and a hurricane overcome your opposition. May the goals you score amaze the world. Stand up to be counted and make us proud. All of our prayers are with you.
      Play the game with pride and respect. Our older persons, many of them former soccer players, will be watching and cheering you
    Madiba recently met the Bafana Bafana squad and gave them his blessing. This World Cup is truly a moment of unity and pride and we wish Bafana Bafana well in their opening match and throughout the tournament. With the thunder of vuvuzelas behind you, you’re sure to do us proud!
    The SANGONeT team wishes Bafana Bafana the very best for the World Cup. We are all behind you. Make us proud! 
      Make young people in South Africa proud as you strive for Gold!
    Sports provide much needed opportunities for integration and social cohesion. Let the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup be a milestone for sports development in South Africa and contribute to building peace, goodwill and prosperity in our country.
    Lets make this the best World Cup ever, and support Bafana. Umcebo Trust and all its supporters would like to send our support to Bafana and the Local Organising Committee. We want everyone to be behind our team, and those who have brought this amazing event to the country. We have had special t-shirts printed, and our staff will be wearing these for the duration of the event, in our uShaka Store, to show our support. Do your best Bafana and South Africa. You are in our thoughts and prayers every step of the way, and that is all we can ask of you.
      Bafana Bafana. The young and strong! We are already proud of you, and we are sure we will be even more proud on 11 July! We are behind you all the way.
      The Hopes of a nation are always pinned on the few. Do not let the small-mindedness of others make you small minded – there are many who wish and will you to reach for the World!
    The Ashoka Southern Africa team would like to wish Bafana Bafana the best of luck during the 2010 World Cup. You have proven yourselves and have made your country proud! Here’s to a safe and enjoyable Soccer World Cup.
    The Centre for Policy Studies sends best wishes to our National Soccer Team, Bafana-Bafana. We call on the team and coach Carlos Alberto Parreira to make our country Proud and turn the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup into a moment of glory for the nation.

    Hosting an excellent event is a great way to unite the country. Once we're united, we can work together to change our country for good. We, at forgood, would love to see that happen, so good luck boys, make us proud and surprise us all!
      Whale Mark wishes you the very best because you deserve it! From humble beginnings you have become the sparkle and hope for all sports facing hurdles to reach the top of your game and you have done it “already,even before you play the first match” Good luck and win the Cup!
    Langa KwaNobuhle SHARE Good luck Bafana Bafana. Play as if this is your last game. The SHARE staff and board wishes you the best and expect a great game form you.
    From everyone at GOLD Peer Education, our staff, facilitators and GOLD Peer Educators, who are working so hard in their communities to confront the root causes of HIV, we wish you all the best for the World Cup. It’s not only how you play, but how you live and role model positive behaviour, that will inspire our youth and our nation.  Make us proud! Go Bafana Bafana.
    South Africa wishes Bafana Bafana very successful play. We will be behind you every kick of the way! We wish that you will also think about the thousands of underprivileged children who could, with a little help, also become great sports players.
    All the best - play well!  No matter what happens, we are behind you! From ACAT -  food, faith and work for Africa.
    Make us proud Bafana Bafana as you play with Common Purpose during World Cup 2010!
    Enjoy every moment and know that you are an inspiration and example to the children of South Africa. We will be cheering you all the way! Go Bafana Bafana!
    Everyone at Siyakhula Trust wishes Bafana Bafana all the best for the World Cup. We are behind you all the way.  Do us proud!
    Go Bafana Bafana! We are rooting for you, and we’re holding our Awesome Rainbow Day during the opening match so we can get as many people as possible in the Overstrand to paint the SA flag on their faces. We’re behind you all the way!
    The 2010 Soccer World Cup is upon us, in every town across this land and it is an incredible achievement that we have pulled this off. The rest of the tournament will be as much a spectacle as anything else on the planet and for a few weeks, every eye in the  world will be fixed on Mzansi, its people and of course Bafana Bafana.

    What we are doing here in Mzansi has never been done anywhere in the world – we are leaders, even if we do not get it right all the time, we are making progress and we are behind our team, even if they are not prefect all the time – they are our boys, our Bafana Bafana. So, ma gents, go into your games knowing that we are with you as you do your bit to make this great social experiment come to life, for a better life for all of us!

    Phambili Bafana!
    The South African National Council for the Blind is proud to support Bafana Bafana as they are an inspiration to us. We believe that Bafana Bafana can do it! We learned the Diski Dance, put up our flags, and have hope - May Bafana Bafana be the pride of Africa!
    Anything can change, anytime, in any manner.  The whole world is a field of all probabilities and possibilities.'-His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
    The soccer field is your's Bafana Bafana-so delightfully showcase your possibilities to the world with the collective consciousness of the people
    of South Africa behind you.
    The South African Institute for Advancement is proud to wish our National Team everything of the best during the Soccer World Cup. May you advance and make us all proud!
    Viva Bafana Bafana Viva!  We know you will make us proud!  Everyone at CAF Southern Africa will be on your side on Friday and in all your other games.  Viva Bafana Bafana Viva!
    We wish you everything of the best at the World Cup. We are behind you all the way. Make us proud! Maak ons trots! Senzeni siziqhenya ngani! Siyaziqhayisa ngani! Re e Kgantsha ka lona!
    We’re 100 percent behind! “We salute our sporting heroes. Your successes continue to inspire the youth of South Africa. 25,000 JAG children will be cheering you all the way! Create the change!” from the JAG Foundation
    We wish BAFANA BAFANA the best for the World Cup. Remember MADIBA’s words:  ‘The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall’. Our spirit will lift you.  Ayoba! Viva Bafana!
    We wish Bafana Bafana all the best, we know they are going to make us proud as they have done already. We are behind you all the way. Niyabasaba Na! Hayi Asibasabi Sizakubaqeda. This is our cup.
    The Izzi Trust would like to thank SAFA & Bafana Bafana for bringing a country together not matter colour,religion or level of education.Education is key and wc2010 has educated children & adults alike what it is to be a team! We are proudly South African!
    You have come this far, now go all the way. Eastern Cape Communication Forum (ECCF) which strengthens small local media in the Eastern Cape is behind you through and through. Go Bafana Bafana go! Our team in East London will be blowing Vuvuzelas and dancing the Diski whilst you are making us proud. Ukwanda kwaliwa ngumthakathi

    Nomawethu Sbukwana, Aniela Batschari, Andrea Dobinsky & Musa Sebugwawo
    We wish Bafana Bafana the very best for all their games during the World Cup. “Many young people look up to sports heroes like Bafana Bafana for their passion, commitment and hard work,” says loveLife CEO Grace Matlhape. “These qualities will stand them in good stead during the tournament - and are an inspiration to young South Africans, on and off the field.” We are standing behind you every step of the way, Bafana Bafana, as you Make YOUR Move to take on the world! 
    Make us proud Bafana Bafana!

    As an NGO working with our region’s governments to develop transfrontier conservation areas, we have been looking forward to this day since it was first announced. Thank you for bringing the Soccer World Cup to Africa and may you bring the Cup home as well!!
    We would like to send our best wishes to the Bafana Bafana Team. You have already done South Africa proud in the outstanding preparation to the 2010 World Cup. Strive for excellence at all times and just be the best team you can be.

    We will be watching your progress and cheering for you!
    We would like to wish Bafana Bafana all the best for the world cup. We do not expect miracles from you guys for we know that you will do your best to make the country proud!
    Make us proud.
    Epilepsy South Africa hopes that Bafana Bafana reaches their full potential in the 2010 World Cup.  We know you will make South Africa proud. We will cheer each challenge you face. Join our challenge as assist people with epilepsy to change obstacles into true potential!
    SHARE Adult Learning Centre We wish Bafana Bafana much success during the
    World Cup and that they can demonstrate to the world the qualities of all South Africans.
    Bafana Bafana.  We wish you all the INNOVATIVE success Go Show Them.
    To our guys,Thank you for Restoring Hope.
    West Coast Community Foundation is proud to say that our staff, board and all our grantees are supporting our South African team.  We wish you the best of luck.  Know  that the West Coast will cheer for you till the end! Every time you hear the sound of a vuvuzela imagine that it is us cheering for you!

    May you make us proud boys! Go Bafana Bafana!!!
    Ndlovu Care Group Organisation The unifying factor of our life time. The greatest warriors of the Rainbow nation. The great 23 man carrying the hopes of the 46million people. Go
    Bafana Bafana and show them what are made of.
    The staff at Development Action Group would like to wish you best of luck for all your games. Boys, go out there and do our country proud! Make the circle bigger and “show dem”.  We are 100% behind you. Go for gold! Ladumma!    
    Bafana Bafana…The World Wide Fund for Nature is right behind you – our vuvuzelas are warmed up and we will be shouting for you all the way! History has shown that nothing is impossible for this country.
      We wish you well Bafana Bafana! And here’s a toast to SA for hosting the (most successful) World Cup ever!
    the Gujarati Hindu Sanskruti Kendra wishes the Bafana Bafana team every success.We are behind you all the way !! Go Bafana  Go !!
    We Salute Bafana Bafana for taking the country forward in building a culture of human rights, filled with the spirit of “Ubuntu”, peace, love, reconciliation and our “Proudly South African Brand” for all on the South African Soil and beyond. It is through you that South Africa will showcase its beautiful society based on the principles of human dignity, equality and freedom, right through the celebration of this historical world tournament to the end. We can’t wait to watch you on Friday 11 June 2010 when you will be making us Proud wearing our National Colours and observing a moment of victory during this Historical Occasion. Our country Flags will cover the whole country in expression of excitement and great appreciation of the World Cup! Our government has shown the ability and capacity to curb delinquency and to keep all safe during the Soccer World Cup, to enjoy all organised events with pride, great security and protection for vulnerable people of our society including our elderly, women, children and people with disabilities.  This is remarkable and we know that this is the beginning of the many successful stories to come in this country and continent as a whole.

    We wish you a successful competition and we are behind you in making South Africa proud. The fruits of this tournament have mile stone benefits to our country to rip now and for future generations!

    Hala Halala, Ke Nako Bafana Bafana
    On behalf of the Management and staff of Operation Hunger we salute you….. Bafana Bafana, what an amazing opportunity for you and South Africa…. May you embrace each moment and may everyone have wonderful memories of    Bafana Bafana and South Africa long after the World Cup is over..

    African democracy institute Idasa welcomes the world to Africa to see for themselves the beauty and strength of our country and continent, and the culture and diversity we are so proud of. We wish our team well and back them all the way. Idasa joins all South Africans in celebrating this opportunity for our country to prove itself and take its place on the international stage.

    CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa, whom has received valued financial support from the Bafana Bafana team members, aims to” Keeping more than hope alive”. We are confident that Bafana Bafana will do everything possible to keep the Nation’s hope in them more than alive by not only reaching the World Cup Finals but winning and lifting yet another international trophy.

    We are fully behind our National Soccer Team.
    Sisters4sisters would like to take this opportunity to wish Bafana Bafana every success. You are in our prayers.
    FAMW-SA We wish Bafana Bafana a sterling performance during the World Cup. May the team have the best physical and mental prowess to conquer the all time greats during this spectacular event, the first ever on African soil. Isikhathi sesifikile!
    Winning starts with a vision of what is possible and makes it a reality. South Africa is a winning nation. Now is our time on the world stage, may it be a victorious celebration of the human spirit.  Ke Nako! It’s our turn in Africa!  To Bafana, ‘Go, boys! SAIDE wishes South Africans a successful and exciting hosting of the World Cup.
    As we celebrate this momentous, uniting and historical moment in the history of Africa; the Soccer World Cup, I wish Bafana Bafana and all the other African teams success. May they be reminded that the real winners in sports are those who know how to enjoy the moment, give their best and persevere, irrespective of whether they win or lose a game. As an African proverb goes, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors”, I wish to reiterate that the experience of this World Cup will indeed build their resilience, sharpen their sportsmanship and indeed make them skillful sailors in sport and beyond.
    ECNGOC supporting Bafana –Bafana 100%

    Soccer in South Africa is not just a sport, but a unifying activity for our nation, healing the injustices of the past. Bafana, your role in the tournament has deeper social transformation consequences; this is why the nation is behind you. We know you are going to make us proud.
    Afesis-corplan wishes Bafana Bafana the very best as the team embarks on the 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign. We would be happiest if Bafana Bafana or any of the six African teams end up lifting the trophy but we will be equally happy to see them participate whole-heartedly, fearlessly and with a positive attitude. Godspeed, our boys!
    Thank you for helping to further build our country with your commitment, drive and determination to succeed as the World's No 1 Soccer Team. This is a tremendous inspiration and example to the Youth and People of South Africa. We as an NGO support and development preschools and schools and parents to become schools and people of excellence in the Port Elizabeth area and are Proud to be aligned with a Team like you. We take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful, blessed and successful round at the World Cup!
    Starfish Greathearts Foundation has a VERY GREAT HEART full of love and support for Bafana Bafana and South Africa during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. We along with the thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children we support salute the national team and know you will make us proud!
    When the first whistle blows, we’ll have no concerns because we know you prepared well.  When the last whistle blows, we’ll be ecstatic because we know you’ve done your best.  Show them what South Africans are made of and how resilient we are as a nation. Walk tall Bafana, we’re behind you!!!
    Play with pride and with all your heart.  May you out score, out class and out play your opponents. May all your hard work and dedication be rewarded. Enjoy each moment of this occasion. We are united in our support of you.
    We are ‘Proudly South African’! Congratulations to all South Africans who didn’t doubt that we’d be ready for the World Cup;  to all South Africans who have united behind our companies, our state entities, our Local Organising Committee, for believing that in South Africa all good things are possible. Now it is time to unite behind our footballers – viva Bafana   Bafana, viva!
    We are pleased to share our supporting message for Bafana Bafana and Africa as a whole  which says.. “Africa Wins... Every time You Prevent HIV”.
    This World Cup event has united our beautiful Rainbow Nation! From the National Council for Persons with Disabilities in SA (NCPPDSA), we are united as one behind you and we are cheering you on with wheelchairs, crutches, hearing aids, hope and love and we pray that this international event will also unite all persons with disabilities and the rest of our nation even further. Enjoy this event and we know that you will make us, the people with disabilities in SA proud!
    On this truly historic day in the history of sports development in South Africa and across the African continent, the Helen Suzman Foundation wishes Bafana Bafana all the best in their endeavor to hoist the World Cup in triumph and make South Africa proud. Enjoy the experience. 
    Make us proud by bringing it home. This is our chance. Give it your best.
    Bafana Bafana nithwele amathemba ezwe lethu, sethemba ukuthi nizosibeka endaweni engcono emhlabeni wonke. Sonke nemindeni yethu siyanisaphotha futhi siyathemba nizokwenza okusemandleni enu ukusijabulisa futhi siziqhenye ngani.  UOperation Upgrade of South Africa unifisela impumelelo.  We brim with excitement and pride and hold our collective breaths as you take on the world. You carry aloft your shoulders a nation’s hopes and dreams and we are certain that with determination, perseverance and  patience you will achieve and exemplify the African spirit.

    Other messages of support received:

    Be brave, be bold, be confident - Bafana-Bafana you can still make it happen. Do it for your country! Ann Bown, Charisma Communications cc.

    Bafana Bafana, you are the pride of our land, South Africa, your light will shine to all. You have already shown the world what you are made of. You prepared for these games with pride and courage, Now this is the time for you to shine to the whole world. Clayton Marange, Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Bafana!Bafana…this is an African cause…”Cry the beloved vuvuzela” …from the Cape to Cairo the echo of victory shall be heard!!! Judia Masina, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

    Viva Bafana Bafana Viva. I wish you and the people of South Africa triumph at the prominent Fifa Soccer World Cup Finals. Hold high the golden trophy for victory is already Africa’s. Viva Bafana Bafana. Kinester Mutero, Zimbabwe.

    I believe I speak on behalf of many fellow Zimbabweans as I say to Bafana Bafana – “what ever the outcome ...we are proud of your our brothers, raise your flag high, and play from the heart...for Africa” Ivy Chanakira, Harare, Zimbabwe.

    You are like Excalibur, the great and mighty sword that never lost any battle. You have been given the platform to show the world what Africa is made of. Here is a good luck note from a Zimbabwean lady who is wishing all the best. I salute you. Rumbidzai Zimvumi, Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Bafana Bafana 2010, Its historic! Remember it is an African World Cup and belongs to Africa. Go Bafana Bafana. You can win it. It is very possible!!!! Charles Masunungure, Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Congratulations on hosting the tournament. Play fair and do it the South African way. Make Africa proud by seizing the opportunity to keep the World Cup in Africa. Ishe Komborera Africa. Ziyanai Shiripinda, London, United Kingdom.

    As a sister member of this sight, I say GOOD LUCK to my brothers in advance for the coming big event!! You will conquer and win, take the World cup home boys!!!!! All the best. liz Rugara, United Kingdom.
  • Community Radio Takes On Gender and World Cup

    The world's media eyes will soon squarely focus on South Africa, with millions from across the globe tuning in via multimillion-dollar broadcasts. Yet, even as the international media and big broadcasters move in, and journalists descend from all over the world, in South Africa, like much of Africa, community radio is still a key source of information and news for many communities, linking local activities and issues with international perspectives.

    While other news media, especially print, struggle to keep audiences, community radio listenership in South Africa is continuously rising. According to the South African Advertising Research Foundation, community radio is improving its weekly reach, rising from 7.340 million listeners to 7.713 million between February and May this year alone.

    One of the contributing factors cited is the increasing listenership among youth and women. Perhaps it is because, although we live in an increasingly globalised world, audiences still crave community issues and information relevant to their everyday lives.

    Community radio is often more likely than mainstream media to include voices form community-based sources, and women sources. For example, monitoring of community media by Gender Links during the April 2009 elections showed that women constituted 34 percent of news sources, compared to 20 percent in monitoring of the mainstream media conducted by Media Monitoring Africa over the same period.

    In celebration of 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, Gender Links, South Africa's National Community Radio Forum (NCRF), and the Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET) conducted a debate to tackle the convergence of these issues - community media, gender, and the upcoming World Cup 2010.

    According to NCRF director Frankilin Huizies, while community stations may not have the much sought after and very expensive broadcast rights, there's many creative ways to make sure local listeners get in on the World Cup action. "How can we take advantage of the World Cup?" Huizies challenged the audience comprising mostly of community broadcasters. "Stations can do live broadcasts form unofficial fan parks, cover other activities around the tournament, and even teach their communities to speak the greetings of the incoming visitors," suggested Huizies.

    Brenda Leonard of Bush Radio echoed these thoughts, explaining that Bush's strong commitment to gender equality and ensuring the participation of women means they often get the interesting stories that everyone else misses. For example, an all woman work force was responsible for installing the stadiums beautiful and complex glass ceiling, a story that Bush sought out to cover.

    Human trafficking and possible dangers to children during the event has been a serious source of concern for the government and parents. Even before the advent of the Cup. Bush has a strategy in place to deal with such emergencies. "We have a policy that if anyone goes missing, at any time, any programme is immediately stopped and that information goes out on air," explained Leanord. "The first four hours are the most crucial, so the information is urgent."

    According to Leonard, community radio's job is also to tackle the big issues, what's gone wrong. She explained that one of the stories Bush has followed closely is the displacement of informal traders, often resulting from strict FIFA by-laws about where business can take place in and around stadiums. "All the traders are gone," she said. "We need to talk about where they are now."

    One such trader is Cecilia Dube, who was part of the crew of women that provided refreshments for workers during the construction at Soccer City outside of Johannesburg. Dube is frustrated with media, recalling many interviews that did nothing to stop the forcible removal of her and her colleagues from spaces they occupied for four years.

    For Dube, the displacement is bad enough, but adding insult to injury is the lack of recognition of the vital role such traders played. "I may not have touched a brick on that stadium," she says, "but I helped to build it. Without me and other traders, those workers would have had to travel far for food, and the job would not have been done." She wonders why all of the advertisements and television programmes have missed talking about the contribution of such women.

    Dube remembers sadly that she was ‘one of the people who jumped sky high’ at the announcement of South Africa as host. She puzzles at why the traders are suddenly deemed ‘unsightly’ and unwanted by the government. "They forget that many doctors and lawyers were raised on the earnings of such traders," she points out. "Many traders are women who are the only breadwinners in the family, and losing their income means not food or clothes for their children," she pointed out.

    Dube says the traders, or as she prefers, small business operators, are most disappointed because many thought the World Cup would mean the much needed capital to become formalised. "Provide us with an office and capital and we'll show you how informal we are," she challenged.

    According to Nomasonto Magwaza, Programme Coordinator at ESSET, the displacement has not yet ended. "We have heard that traders from Bree Mall have now been told to leave. On 21 Mach, traders were forcibly removed from Park Stations," she said. "Yet renovations slated to begin 1 May have not yet stated, and traders are asking why?"

    This kind of displacement has not received widespread coverage in the media, and there is a certain reticence to ‘spoiling the party’ yet as those present at the debate discussed, it is important to highlight the good stories, while pointing out what needs to be done differently for any future events, anywhere on the continent.

    As Kubi Rama, Deputy Director of Gender Links pointed out, "It is the voices of the Cecilia Dube's across the country that we need to hear." She recalled the recent incident where security barred a female Sowetan photographer Vathiswa Ruselo from entering a section of Orlando Stadium, stating that "You are a woman. Women have their places and that is where you belong." Rama questions, "What does this mean for coverage of the World Cup?"

    For community radio, the need to cover these stories leaves a gap. "Most community radio constituents are those who cannot afford tickets. These are the most important people to ensure access to coverage,” said Rama.

    Even without the big broadcast rights, community radio is sure to be at the centre of the action. For the hosts of the debate there is renewed commitment to ensure that community voices, especially those of women, are among those heard during all of the World Cup festivities. They agreed that while they can't change the rules of the World Cup, they can help raise the voice of public opinion, making every voice count during World Cup and beyond.

    - Deborah Walter is the Editor of the GL Opinion and Commentary Service and Director of CMFD Productions. This article is part of the GL Service that provides fresh views on everyday news. It is republished here with the permission of Gender Links.
    Deborah Walter
  • "40 000 prostitutes" - how rumours and lies become 'fact'

    I have been puzzled and annoyed by the ongoing repetition in our media, that 40 000 'prostitutes' are set to be trafficked into South Africa ahead of the World Cup.

    This figure is continually repeated (and in one instance, an anti-trafficking video featuring several South African soapie stars, inflated further to 100 000). This despite its being a complete fabrication, with no basis in fact, and no evidence available to substantiate it.

    The exact same claims were made ahead of the World Cup in Germany -- but afterwards, an investigation by the Council of the European Union (documents  5006/1/07 and 5008/7) found a grand total of just 5 cases of trafficking -- yes, just 5.

    The online publication Spiked, drew attention to this, way back in February 2007. This week, Spiked again takes a look at the ongoing circulation of these nonsense stories. Fascinatingly, the author, Brendan O'Neill, looks at how the imagined numbers have doubled every few years -- starting with estimates of 10 000 sex slaves for the Australian Olympics, then 20 000 in Athens in 2004, 40 000 in Germany in 2006, and on to South Africa (80 000 anyone?).

    It's incredible -- even when journalists have contradictory information at their disposal, this nonsense number gets repeated. A recent article on Independent Online is headlined "Thousands of Prostitutes for World Cup", and repeats this statistic, this time apparently from the mouth of the deputy chair of South Africa's Central Drug Authority (CDA). Never mind that later in the article, Johan Kruger, national project co-ordinator for trafficking at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, is quoted questioning these figures. Kruger says, "I'm not sure where that comes from", and goes on to inform his audience that human trafficking actually DECREASED during the world up in Germany.

    So where do the figures come from? Well, let's look at what exactly David Bayever, the CDA deputy chair is actually supposed to have said. As reported by IOL, Bayever provides no evidence for this figure and indicates that he is passing on unubstantiated, second hand information. He says the CDA had been warned by the Durban Municipality of the possibility of huge inflows: "Someone informed the Durban municipality," he says, "They got wind of it." So -- it's not the CDA issuing these figures, not even Durban municipality. It's just something somebody got wind of, and passed on. But now that Bayever has mentioned the 40 000, in subsequent reports suddenly it's the authority of CDA that is now quoted as being the source of these figures.

    Even more interestingly, the rumours speculate that these women are likely to be imported from Eastern Europe. Now surely any journalist or any reader with half a brain should realise this is nonsense. Given the price of sex on the streets of Hillbrow, how is any trafficker going to make a profit, after having to pay at great expense to import thousands of women covertly from Eastern Europe?

    So how does this happen? How do rumours and lies get repeated so often that they take on the status of unquestioned fact? Nick Davies provides ample explanation in his  fascinating study of the problems bedeviling the British media, Flat Earth News. Davies provides a meticulously researched account of how journalism, supposedly the business of reporting the truth, has been "slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance."

    Because of a range of factors - one being the dramatic reduction in the numbers of reporters in newsrooms - journalists have less and less time to try to dig out the truth. This has opened the media to manipulation by sophisticated armies of PR experts and government spin doctors. Of course, the Internet and social media make it all so much easier. That IOL article, for example, is doing the rounds on Facebook.

    As part of the research for his book, Davies commissioned researchers from Cardiff University to extensively analyse every single news story put out by the five most prestigious and influential newspapers in the UK, over a two week period.

    The findings are shocking -- for instance, in stories that rely on a specific statement of fact, the researchers found that in 70% of cases, "the claimed fact passed into print without any corroboration at all." This is in the so-called quality press -- in this particular study, Davies didn't even touch the tabloids!

    Little wonder then that we are seeing this phenomenon at work in South Africa. Our news media are subject to exactly the same forces that are at play in Britain, and indeed, globally.

    It places a huge burden on those of us who do have access to accurate and rigorous research, to ensure that we get our messages out clearly and effectively, so that public policy is not distorted by undiluted mis-information.

    In the case of sex work, the unfounded hysteria about trafficking is diverting attention from the real issue -- the need to ensure that the human rights, health and safety of sex workers in South Africa, and indeed in our neighbouring countries, are respected and protected.

    This blog is also available at

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