In South Africa, it’s not so easy to get caught out by an April Fool’s joke – our reality is often far more unbelievable and much funnier than fake news. A perfect example is the pastor who farts on his congregants as a blessing. If this news story broke on April 1, you’d be the fool for believing it was fake. You just can’t make this stuff up.
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Over the years South African publications have pulled off some hilarious April Fool’s jokes. A handful were so cleverly presented, even after they were revealed as jokes people still believed it to be true.
5 funny April Fool’s jokes:
1. Not a robbery
If you had to try this in 2021 you’d be shot dead. But in 1952 some found it hilarious. Four men with masks entered a bank and held up the staff with water guns. They announced that it was a holdup and asked the tellers to hand over the cash.
The teller, shaking in her boots, handed over the money and the alarm sounded. The men threw the cash back her her, yelled ‘April fool’ and fled the scene in a getaway car. If you play out that exact same scene in 2021, the masks wouldn’t be out of place at all.
2. Kulula’s water airport
In 2012, Kulula told their customers that selected flights would land on a new runaway on the water. The flights would land at Cape Town and Durbans’ harbours and in Gauteng at Hartebeespoort Dam. The airline said they were trying to curb long waiting periods at congested airports and avoid high airport taxes. Passengers would be ferried to and from planes on water shuttles and would embark and disembark from piers.
3. Can you smell a rat?
A newspaper called the Johannesburg Star carried a story about an illicit ring of rat furriers. According to the report, police raided a sewer where the rats were being bred for their fur. They alleged that hundreds of fur coats made of rats were sold to women – and if their coats smelled a little fishy then there was a high probability they were made from the rat fur bred in the swere. Companies selling fur coats in Johannesburg were inundated with calls from their customers querying where their coats came from. The piece caused so much drama that the newspaper had to run a story stating it was indeed an April Fool’s joke.
4. Springboks renamed
In 2019, eNCA reported that after years of consideration, the Springboks name would be changed to the Zebras. They said it would be easier to market the team with a shorter name, and appointed President Jacob Zuma as the coach. And to add insult to injury, they planned on moving the team to Australia because South Africa’s pitches were in a bad condition.
A few months later South Africa’s Zebras went on to win the world cup, now that was no joke!
5. Cliff hanger
This didn’t happen in South Africa but it’s definitely worth a mention. A DJ in the UK pranked listeners with a report that a ship resembling the Titanic was visible from the cliffs at Beachy Head in East Sussex. Listeners arrived at the cliff in droves to catch a glimpse. Foot traffic increased so much on the cliff that it caused a crack and within a few days a piece of the cliff fell into the sea. Funny! Not funny!