Naming rights issue can only be resolved around the table

2010-08-01 12:05

Dale Carnegie, motivational speaker and writer par excellence, once opined: “a man’s name is the sweetest sound in any language”.

Besides Carnegie’s musing much has been said and written about names.

Wars have been fought over them.

And so it is that South Africa is entangled in two hot issues around names.

As we speak giant banking institution First National Bank is taking The Stadium Management Company to court over the naming rights of, eh ... should we say Soccer City Stadium?

Last week Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Sport chairperson Butana Komphela suggested that maybe the name Bafana Bafana should be changed.

The hard-to-please Komphela was irked by reports suggesting that Stanton Woodrush – he who saw the opportunity in the 90s and registered the name – had raked in around R81 million from the sale of Bafana Bafana merchandise during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The two issues have divided the Rainbow Nation down the middle.

There are those who believe that the stadium – known as Soccer City during the World Cup in line with a Fifa directive – should revert to FNB Stadium.

Nay! scream the new managers appointed by Johannesburg City.

The name must be National Stadium – which has already been printed on the tickets for the Springboks vs All Blacks

Tri-Nations encounter on August 21 and the Telkom Charity Cup on Saturday.

Around the Bafana name saga there are those who argue that Woodrush is an enterprising businessman who saw the opportunity while the suits at Safa snoozed, not realising they were sitting on a gold mine.

The flip side of the Rainbow Nation is screaming blue murder, saying there is no way an individual can own a national asset.

These are just some of the intricacies of this Rainbow or Zebra Nation of ours.

While there is always argument that you cannot shoot the black or white stripe of a zebra and expect the other colour to survive, this Rainbow Nation is built on some very shaky ground, with people choosing when it is convenient to belong to it.

My piece of advice: If we could find a solution for the atrocious system of apartheid by sitting around a table we can easily disentangle ourselves from these issues involving the naming of a stadium and our senior men’s national soccer team.

Shakespeare may have written that a rose by any other name still smells as sweet but I feel that Bafana Bafana by any other name will no longer sound the same.

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