2019’s best April Fool’s jokes in South Africa – and the very many bad ones

Business Insider SA
April Fool
  • South Africa saw a number of mediocre (and worse) attempts at April Fool's jokes in 2019.
  • Pick n Pay won the day with an "app update" that led to some hilarious videos, and Audi's "name change" wasn't terrible.
  • And the South African Air Force found a brilliant way to poke fun at some of its own troubles – and at cryptocurrencies too.
  • But jokes about load shedding and data shedding, and a tired old prank about the Springbok rugby team, fell flat.

South Africa had a weak offering of April Fool's jokes on Monday, with some publications citing the problem of fake news as a reason not to participate in the annual foolery.

A handful of organisations picked up the baton, coming up with jokes about their products and brands, one of which went down well, and one that didn't quite impress.

Here is a roundup of the best and worst April Fool's jokes in South Africa in 2019, as of mid-morning.

Two jokes that worked – and one that somewhat worked.

The air force has a new funding plan: crypto

The South African Air Force (SAAF) announced a new way to fund its operations: an "airborne" cryptocurrency mining initiative called SAAFCoin.

SAAFCoin would be mined in-flight, the air force said, using excess electricity on board its aircraft. Eventually, it said, the new currency could cover its flying costs – and perhaps even turn a slight profit.

"There are even work streams active at the moment assessing the feasibility of paying Air Force staff salaries in SAAFCoin," its press release quoted "Air Force spokesperson Hofnar Isidenge" as saying.

Having poked fun at the high cost of its flying operations, the SAAF then went one step further, refusing to comment on whether its VVIP aircraft (which carries the President and other high officials) would be involved in the project.

Pick n Pay lets you taste a hot cross bun online.

Retailer Pick n Pay put some effort into a complex prank that came with a press release, tweets, and a video.

In a world first, it said, customers would now be able to taste-test its products right on their phones.

"Using world class nanotechnology, the functionality allows us to transduce the olfactory and sensory elements," said its marketing head John Bradshaw in the press release. "In plain English, that means we use your phone’s touchscreen to create a response from your nervous system that allows you to taste and smell."

See also: Pick n Pay says customers can taste hot-cross buns by licking their phones

Pick n Pay also stressed that, being in beta testing, there could be some trouble with the app – so it was worth licking the phone again and again if the first attempt didn't work.

Audi is now 'Odi'

Car brand Audi announced a name change in South Africa – to Odi – because it is easier to pronounce.

It also said its iconic four-ring logo would be replaced with a single big ring. 

“The new design symbolises the unified approach that our brand will embark on in an effort to be one with our South African consumers,” it said.

See also: SA's biggest ever April Fool’s joke reached 20 million people worldwide

Fans were reasonably amused, and at least one other car brand thought that a good idea.

The sad attempts and April Fool's pranks that fell flat:

The Springboks are now the Zebras

Television news channel eNCA reported exclusively that the Springbok rugby team will be changing its name to the Zebras, and showed off the team's new kit.

It linked the name change to the fact that the Springboks has a black captain, and said black and white stripes "are symbolic of all South Africans". 

The channel ran with the joke on Twitter for only a short while before outing its own joke well before the traditional noon deadline – and not a moment too soon. The channel was widely panned for trying a tired old joke that wasn't funny to begin with.

Buying a vote for R100

It was not quite clear what the joke was supposed to be: either online retailer OneDayOnly attempted to convince you that you could vote online, or (more disturbing) it tried to "sell" votes, starting from R100 each.


Either way, not funny.

Week-long load shedding is coming

Technology news website TechCentral reported that Eskom is dumping regular rotational electricity rationing in favour of week-long blackouts a suburb at a time.

This would mean much less frequent load shedding, it said – but people would be without power for a week at a time. 

The joke was not well received.

First load shedding, now data shedding

The breakfast TV show Expresso reported that "The Mobile Institute of SA" will institute data shedding based based on the prefix for cellphone numbers, with each one being denied access to the data network for two hours per day.

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