Thursday, July 22, 2010

Copright [sic] issue forces South Africa to ponder life after Bafana Bafana; (London) Guardian, 7/22/10

(London) Guardian; Copright [sic] issue forces South Africa to ponder life after Bafana Bafana:

"The South African national side might not be known as Bafana Bafana for much longer, with the country's football association apparently ready to give up the nickname and adopt a new one because of an ongoing copyright dispute.

A South African businessman acquired the rights to the phrase in 1994. While the South African Football Association has been allowed to use it on official literature, it is unable to print it on merchandise or make financial gain from it. In 1997 the SAFA started a legal battle to reclaim the name, but South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed their case in 2002. The copyright owners are believed to have made a profit of £6.5m from it during the World Cup.

"I want to avoid saying we are very angry about it," the SAFA president, Kirsten Nematandani, said. "We are worried about it. We are concerned." Nematandani said the future of the nickname was being discussed "at a national level", and that despite Bafana Bafana being "a national asset" it might have to be changed.

"It clearly has to be done the right way, but we cannot go on in this way. It is not proper, it is not correct," he said. "The name of Bafana Bafana came from the public and we are throwing the ball back to the public."

Bafana Bafana means "the boys, the boys" in Zulu. It is thought to have been used in the early 1990s by journalists in Soweto to refer to the national team after it was readmitted into international football after apartheid. It was quickly picked up and is now the affectionate name by which South Africa football fans refer to their team.

The issue has reached South Africa's parliament in Cape Town. On Tuesday, the chairman of the influential parliamentary committee on sport said Bafana should be dropped if the copyright issue was not resolved."

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