Thursday, 25 October 2012

And a man in a yellow suit

South Africa is an odd country. Some days it is depressingly peculiar  Other days, like today, it's wonderfully quirky. Today's big news in SA (apparently successfully competing with murder, police violence, minibudget and a ruling party march to pray for economic transformation) is the release of the first results from the country's 2011 census. It's the first census since 2001, so everyone is quite excited. Even more exciting, the data will be available as interactive online maps, charts, infographics, basic graphs and via mobile website and cellphone apps. Census data will available to everyone across the country.

And all this, from the man in the yellow suit, South Africa's Statistician-General, Pali Lehohla. No, not mad - he just has a suit made to match the logo of census 2011. Which has a logo. And a website. Quirky.

Unfortunately, today's fun and games was just the media briefing on the census. The actual results come out on Tuesday. With, it seems likely, even more fanfare and excitement. There are probably places in the world where government census data do not generate media interest. There are probably national statistics organisations that don't bother to develop dedicated sites and apps and visuals. It's kind of cool to think that I don't live in any of them.

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