Hoax emails hurt

…as I’ve said before.

I don’t expect that anyone who reads my blog forwards this sort of junk on anyway – you’re all far too intelligent, right? (right?!?).
Thus, I really don’t expect this to make much of an impact in the greater scheme of things, but the trouble is that some people do believe all that they read on the internet. And if Maureen from church sent them an email saying that the moon was going to fall onto Cape Town next Wednesday, they’d probably save time by not making any plans for the rest of that that week.

I am, of course, talking about bananas, or more specifically about the bananas email that did the rounds in SA last week. It first originated in the USA in 1999, and – contrary to what is stated therein – bananas from KZN are not infected with the killer flesh-eating bug that kills and eats flesh.
Streptococcus pyogenes has no interest in bananas. Not enough protein, see?

It wants you.

But please don’t have sleepless nights. You’ll be fine.

Unless it gets you. In which case, you’ll die. Horribly.

Seriously though – as I linked at the top – we’ve been here before, but that was just one man who suffered annoyance and inconvenience thanks to an email attributed to him. Amazingly, bewilderingly, this is having a huge negative effect on banana sales in Mozambique:

Sales of bananas in Maputo have plummeted following the circulation of malicious e-mails and mobile phone text messages claiming that South African bananas are infected with a lethal bacteria.
The bananas sold in Maputo are grown in Mozambique, not South Africa indeed, Mozambique exports bananas to South Africa. But this has made no difference to panic-stricken consumers who are avoiding the fruit altogether.

Now, I’m no expert in the economics of fruit farming in Southern African states, but I’d wager that there isn’t a whole lot of money readily available to those on the ground (or in the tree?) of the banana growing business generally. And because of this, there’s likely to be even less now. This isn’t harmless fun. It’s affecting real people. Really.

Of course, you’re reading this high-brow blog. You are sensible, rational, informed. But when was the last time you checked on your mother-in-law or any other elderly or BlackBerry-using relative, hmm?
Why not do the decent thing and send them a link to this post and make the world of a Mozambican banana farmer and his family just a little bit better this December?

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