Brand South Africa, in partnership with MAN Truck and Bus (S.A.) (Pty) Ltd has launched ‘The People’s Bus’, a mobile edutainment initiative that will take the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ experience and football educational information to over 60 South African communities, throughout the country. The four-month road show aims to mobilise the host nation to extend its warmest welcome to the world.

The People’s Bus, which was launched to the sound of over 300 vuvuzelas at the MAN Bus & Coach Clayville factory, takes visitors on a thrilling, interactive journey, complete with FIFA World Cup™ team facts and trivia, foosball table fun and a mini cinema showing unforgettable moments from previous tournaments. This initiative encourages South Africans to be good hosts, fly the flag, sing the National Anthem with pride, learn and do the diski dance and celebrate Football Fridays.

On exiting the bus, visitors will be encouraged to write a short message of luck to the team, which will be uploaded on both the Brand South Africa and Bafana Bafana websites.

It is through a public-private partnership with the MAN Truck and Bus that we have been able to bring this initiative to life. MAN, which not only provided the vehicle, but a dedicated driver (contracted from Gauteng Coaches) for the full duration of the initiative as well as comprehensive insurance and the majority of the required AV and sound equipment, was acknowledged at the launch by acting Brand South Africa CEO Paul Bannister. Bannister encouraged other corporates to take up the challenge and be a part of preparing our nation for the spectacle to come.

According to MAN CEO, Thomas Hemmerich, The People’s Bus was converted from a standard 65-seater MAN Lion’s Explorer bus, into an informative, digital World Cup football experience. In terms of vehicle specifications, this bus delivers the latest MAN Trucknology® technology. “With its bold football-themed artwork, green astro turf football pitch-marked flooring and Bafana Bafana football jersey coloured seating, as well as an energetic activation programme including diski dancing and national anthem competitions, The People’s Bus does not disappoint in delivering football fever to audiences,” he said.

Hemmerich added “The bus interiot includes a mini 10-seater cinema, complete with a 42” plasma screen and DVD player. Two branded foosball tables allow for a game or two for guests. The educational zone presents visitors with short team overviews of each participating national football side, giving them a glimpse of the global magnitude of the event, while sharing football facts and trivia.”

The initiative is also intended to extend programmes such as Football Friday, in support of the upcoming tournament. The People’s Bus is a synergistic initiative, able to enhance Football Fridays. The activation programme will therefore include mini football matches and/or soccer clinics in various towns, where participating teams will compete for “The People’s Trophy.”

The routing for The People’s Bus is intense and while it will certainly visit some major centres, much of the programme’s focus is on smaller destinations. Included in the schedule are towns like Dullstroom, Upington, Bisho, Grahamstown, Gugulethu and Ulundi. Participation at renowned South African sporting and cultural events such as the Comrades Marathon, Rand Show, Schools Rugby Festival and Cape Town Jazz Festival are in the planning stages.

The MAN Lion’s Explorer bus bodywork, the successor to the well known Explorer range of bodies, and the only OE-manufactured bus body in South Africa, is designed for African conditions to exacting European standards. The body styling is in line with the MAN Lion’s family of City and Intercity buses from Germany.

The MAN HB1 Lion’s Explorer ‘People’s Bus’ boasts the following safety and efficiency features:

Latest in Trucknology® technology Six cylinder Common rail diesel engine technology with low-emission Euro 3 turbo-charged, intercooled engine, producing 176kW @ 2400rpm and 925Nm of torque at 1200 – 1800 rpm emitting a frugal 198g/kW.h of carbon dioxide. Six-speed manual ZF transmission and Voith retarder for enhanced braking power and fuel economy. EBS5 braking system, which includes ABS (anti-lock brakes), ASR (traction control) and EPB (electro-pneumatic brake) with disc brakes on front axles.Power steering for driver comfort. Steel parabolic suspension suitable for on and off-tar road conditions.