Well, here it comes.
The waves of terror and paranoia about deepest, darkest Africa are about to break on our shores.
And not just any kind of fear – more the scaremongered kind generated by those whose job it is to sell protection.
Last night the global sporting media (BBC, SPC and AP) were awash with the following quote from Gunter Schnelle talking about 2010 in South Africa. Gunter is an operations director of BaySecur, the security company responsible for players and fans of the German Football Federation (DFB) for away games:
The possibility of the players going off-camp should be kept to an absolute minimum. In that case they should take the precaution of taking armed protection and wearing bullet-proof vests.
Hmm, perhaps the DFB can investigate technology for tainting the flesh and bones of German fans and players to make them less appetising to the lions and hyenas – to say nothing of the feral bands of cannibal children.
One shouldn’t sneer, but I cannot get down to my local supermarket without wading through throngs of delightful and happy Germans – and I have never seen one being gnawed on by the cannibals.
Jokes aside, South Africa’s crime rate – all kinds of crime, but especially crimes that entail significant violence – is the highest, or close to the highest, in the world.
South Africa does not have the immediate terrorist threats that have done so much harm to international cricket in India and Pakistan, but being “the crime capital of the world” we stand out in ways we wish we didn’t.
All this means is that those who sell protection and crime intelligence have a licence to print money when they are selling to foreigners who must travel to South Africa. It also means that those companies and “experts” are going to do everything they can to talk “up” the problem – because their bread and butter is linked to the punters being fearful.
I suppose the point is that the reality makes the security expert’s scaremongering an easy exercise.