Did we con you: our our astroturf April fool's joke verged on the ridiculous

2010-04-02 00:00

FOR those of you who were hoodwinked by the story that the city council is planning to replace grass verges with synthetic grass, it was just an April Fool’s joke.

Callers to The Witness were unsure whether to believe it or not.

A Witness subscriber for 56 years, Estelle Hundley (86), said she thought the artificial verges were a good idea, but was worried that the workers who mow the verges might lose their jobs. She called to ask if it was true and laughed when told she had been conned.

But she said her 90-year-old sister, Barbara Anderson, picked up immediately that it was an April Fool’s Day prank.

New Msunduzi mayor Mike Tarr was in on the whole joke. When The Witness contacted Tarr yesterday morning, he said he loved the story and had already received a few phone calls. “Some people really fell for it,” he chuckled.

The Witness also roped in Belgotex Floorcoverings for the prank, and although the idea of using synthetic grass on the CBD verges was a joke, the grass is not, and it is a fast-growing phenomenon throughout the world. Hotels, restaurants and households use the grass for its evergreen look and natural feel. Duraturf, a brand of Belgotex Floorcoverings, is available here in Pietermaritzburg.

Readers may have been alerted if they had read the name of councillor Loof Lirpa, who was to accept the petition against the artificial grass, backwards.

Witness cricket writer Lungani Zama pulled the ring out of a story claiming Proteas skipper Graeme Smith was set to move to Durban to play for the KZN Dolphins. Zama also wrote that Smith had actually hurt his finger during an argument with Shane Warne over curry.

Other local newspapers claimed that ANCYL leader Julius Malema was due to make his debut in the boxing ring and that the Durban airport site was to be used as a nuclear power plant.

Springbok star Morne Steyn making the preposterous statement that “rugby cannot always come first” should have been the first clue to Beeld readers. But him hanging up his rugby boots to play for Bafana Bafana — by that time, any half awake reader would have realised it was an April Fool’s Day joke.

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