Still The Best Weekly Read
With the exception of those who like to read their newspaper from back to front, you may have read on page 3 about the cover price increase of Soccer Laduma.
That means a copy of this publication will set you back R4. Why do newspapers, or specifically Soccer Laduma, increase the cover price from time to time? In answer to that, I would offer that reasons vary from publication to publication, but the most glaring one is the rise in printing costs. Or, rather, the rise in everything, if we are to look at the bigger scheme of things. Food prices are going up the roof. Motorists are feeling the pinch, what with the price of fuel going down slightly the one minute, and then shooting up considerably the next. The 15% VAT is a pain on the backside. The most unfortunate part of it all is that it is the consumer who has to bear the brunt of the unstable economy of our control. Therefore, the latest price increase was simply unavoidable, although we tried to delay its implementation for as long as we could. We hope you bear with us, dear reader.
On that note, let me take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, on behalf of our team, for your continued and unwavering support. That this is an age where it is fast becoming unfashionable to read a newspaper, and where the technological way of doing things is gaining steam with each passing day, is not lost on us. Every Wednesday, you choose us. If that is not love and loyalty, then we don’t know what is. During all the years plying my trade at Soccer Laduma, I have come to learn that what you and us have is more than just a newspaper-reader relationship. It is a community; a community of a people madly in love with their soccer. It does not only end with us producing a newspaper and you reading it each week, only to look forward to the next one. By no means is it merely transactional. The feedback is constant. The lines of communication are forever open. You keep us on our toes. You hug and kiss us when you feel that we have hit all the right notes; equally so, you are quick to criticise us when you feel we have strayed from the path of perfection. Not that perfection is ever easy to achieve, but with a readership of three million a week, nothing less is good enough. Trust me, we know that.
In fact, it is that weight of expectation on our shoulders that keeps us going even when the going gets tough. Much is expected from those who aspire to the very highest standards in whatever walk of life. Imagine a Kaizer Chiefs, with their huge fan base and history of success on the field of play, that is not expected to win every game they play. Or a Barcelona content with adding numbers in every trophy they contest.
Too ghastly too contemplate!
What many out there may not be aware of is that ours is a very small team, probably the smallest around. But the passion, determination and hard work that is on display in this newsroom, in the pursuit of the best interviews and features, is something we are pretty certain you would marvel at were you to see it in action. We treat the reader as the boss because, in all honesty, that is what you are. The thought of publishing something in the paper that does not resonate with our readership scares us no end because, one, such an occurrence would mean that we are not in touch with the “taste buds” of our readers, so to speak, and two, may lead to some serving divorce papers on us.
Fortunately, because of the constant communication with you, as alluded to earlier, we know what a Soccer Laduma reader wants to read about and we strive every week to deliver according to what’s of relevance and interest to you. Failure to do that would be akin to giving you frozen yoghurt when you actually asked for pickled fish. Soccer Laduma has its finger on the pulse of South African football and that is what keeps us ahead of the game, some 22 years since the first edition hit the shelves. We have survived smear campaigns and criticism that bordered on jealousy. But who doesn’t have critics? In our line of duty, ours has never been to entertain critics who, when time comes for them to justify their criticism with facts, are often found wanting. Good reader, we have a paper to put out every Wednesday and that is always uppermost on our minds, and so we avoid at all costs being sidetracked by naysayers with an agenda. Our pledge to you is that we will continue in the same vein… and give you full value for the extra 10 cents.
Just as well, it’s exciting times in South African football right now. Mamelodi Sundowns are on the verge of adding another star above their badge. Bafana Bafana are going to the AFCON in Egypt and, this time around, it looks like the pilot will have a lot of time to take in the sight of the pyramids and catch up with old mates in the North African country, a far cry from previous occasions where it was advisable not to switch off the engine as soon as our national team alighted from the plane en route to the tournament. Banyana Banyana will be participating in the World Cup in France in two months’ time. Ditto the national U20 side, who are weeks away from the global showpiece in Poland. Good luck to all.
In the meantime, I suggest you email the editor, Vuyani Joni, on firstname.lastname@example.org for any suggestions you might have regarding your favourite weekly read, or simply to give feedback on the price increase. Thank you.