World Cup milestone

2007-11-14 00:00

On Sunday, November 25, the 2010 Fifa World Cup Preliminary Draw will take place in Durban, an event at which this province will play host to representatives of 204 of the 208 soccer-playing nations of the world. It's a kind of mini-curtain-raiser to the main event, for in all, including each country's delegation and its media contingent, there may be in excess of 1 000 international guests.

This is the biggest milestone yet on the route to 2010, and for this province it should be a spur to all of us to focus our minds on the ways in which we can play our part in hosting the enormous tournament. The draw in Durban should encourage the development of a desire to work together to present KwaZulu-Natal in the best possible light, so that we become part of a national drive to make the tournament a success - and to make attendance at it a positive and enjoyable experience for every visitor.

This means that problems will have to be approached head on, to ratchet up the necessary infrastructure so that by 2010 it is working smoothly and efficiently. Especially, this applies to crime. A fact that cannot be wished away is that the influx of thousands of international visitors will attract criminals to host cities. It must be acknowledged, too, that even isolated instances of crime during what should be a safe, happy and festive period will attract media attention worldwide and undermine South Africa's reputation.

In other words, intelligent planning of security measures, at match venues and wherever visitors lodge or gather, must begin right now and should be gradually phased in over the next two years so that by the time the World Cup is underway crime is under control, and visitors can feel secure.

Big bangs

With Diwali and Guy Fawkes behind us, we are once again left to contemplate the carnage and trauma inflicted on animal populations by the fireworks which are used to mark both of these traditional cultural celebrations.

Each year, this newspaper documents the plight of animals of all kinds for whom the fireworks represent a genuine terror. Each year, warnings are published asking people to respect the fears of animals and to take measures to ensure their safety. Yet, the tragedies continue.

With a year to go before the next round of celebrations, community and cultural leaders should be encouraged to start applying their minds to the issue now.

A public debate which starts today instead of on the eve of next year's celebrations will have far better chances of producing a constructive and widely-acceptable solution to what is clearly a problematic situation.

Fresh, quirky

Yesterday, chicken franchise Nando's celebrated its 20th birthday with a grand party in Johannesburg. Branches countrywide were closed, and all Nando's employees travelled to and from the party at company expense.

To lose a day's business, and, moreover, to spend generously on transport and catering in order to show staff that their role in the 20-year success is appreciated is, apparently, unheard of. But what has made Nando's so successful - it now trades in 26 countries and has 650 restaurants worldwide - is its fresh and often quirky approach to its products and to advertising.

Just as it has tried different combinations of seasonings and spices to make its food tastier, more tangy and more interesting than that of its blander competitors, it has, also, taken a fresh, irreverent, cheeky - but good-natured - approach in its advertisements, pitching them tactically, and picking themes that stick in the collective memory of its target market. Well done.

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