Hayibo! Popular satirical website makes a welcome comeback

2011-04-07 00:00

THE satirical website hayibo.com is back up and running, “thanks to the good people at Cape Media”, the website posted in its first blog post. “CEO Andrew Fehrsen has demonstrated his organisation’s belief in a free and independent media by throwing us this lifeline, and we hope we can reward his faith in us with at least another year of breaking the news into lots of little pieces.”

In an interview with The Witness, Fehrsen, a former resident of Pietermaritzburg, said that apart from entertainment value, good satire is a constructive commentary on a society. “Hayibo is not just good, it’s world class,” he said. “It was a glum day when they closed not only because I lost one of my favourite reads, but we collectively lost a valuable commentary that drew otherwise uninterested people into current debate. I called them, we had coffee and discovered we were like-minded at least on the issue that Hayibo should keep going.”

Fehrsen said that the partnership between his firm and hayibo.com is still having the details worked out, but that the biggest cost is the content. “Quality satire relies on interpreting the events of the day and using irony and sarcasm without being vulgar or biased,” he said. “This is harder than it seems and more expensive to produce regardless of your medium.”

Fehrsen sees satirical commentary as a necessary means in South Africa. “Press freedom in South Africa is one of the things that we’ve got right as a society, ranking third in Africa and 38th in the world on the Reporters Without Borders Index.

“The fact that government have openly supported and encouraged this principle until now gives me hope that [the proposed Information Bill], which has the ability to plunge us into a ‘big brother’ society, cannot go through.

“We should be campaigning to prevent it,” he said.

In the meantime the satire website continues to post news by the day, with tongue-in-cheek commentary on stories such as Graeme Smith’s anxiousness over performance on his wedding night and MPs being rushed to hospital from Parliament having heard hayibo.com is back up and running.

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