THE POPE’S VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA – 1995EvenFlowMedia2020-03-20T13:50:08+00:00
THE POPE’S VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA – 1995
Produced, conceptualised, managed, coordinated and staged the entire event
Produced and directed the international television broadcast of the event, broadcast to over 1 billion people
We were contracted by the Catholic Church of South Africa to manage, co-ordinate and stage the first-ever Papal Visit to South Africa. We had a mere 5 weeks in which to accomplish this task and the event was by all accounts a huge success with over 325,000 people attending the event at Gosforth Park in Germiston, South Africa.
We negotiated numerous sponsorships for this event to reduce the costs to the Church. The logistics of staging the Mass at Gosforth Park were mammoth. We began with an enormous tract of land, which is Gosforth Park, a racecourse. There were no facilities or amenities and we provided our 325,000-strong audience with water, lighting, sanitation, food, parking and more
The following is very basically what was achieved on site:
Parking sites were negotiated with the City Council, the Traffic Department and a nearby regional commercial airport. We accommodated over 900 buses from all over Africa as well as over 5,000 cars
Special public transport was arranged with private and Council rail and bus suppliers
An extensive signage plan was developed for the sight to direct the flow of vehicular and human traffic
Over 1000 toilets were delivered on site. A consortium of suppliers was established to cater for the high number of toilets required as no single company had sufficient stock.
Over 26km of fencing was erected to contain the public in manageable blocks and to create roads for emergency vehicles and the Pope Mobile
More than 1 million litres of water was accessed from the public water systems nearby. 20 plumbers were contracted to lay the temporary pipes and taps.
Various hospitals and companies supplied emergency services and a mobile hospital was erected onsite
11 ambulances were on duty
Specialist doctors and nurses were on duty for the duration of the event
Vendors and specialist catering companies supplied catering for over 300,000 people
18 sound towers were erected
Over 900 KVA of electricity was installed on site via 4 generators. This excluded the generators for the live worldwide television broadcast
A massive stage was erected and decorated
Over 10km of razor wire was laid in and around the venue for crowd control and security purposes
The Military was involved in all aspects of security due to the level of VIP guests and participants at the event. In addition, the Civil Protection Department, the Regional and National Police, and the South African Intelligence departments were closely involved in all planning and site matters. The Military had their motorbike and horseback divisions present on site and the Provincial Police Department supplied mobile police stations and riot, uniformed and plain clothed officers for service
The South Africa Military assisted with all aspects that private enterprise was not equipped to cater for
Our main role was liaison between all Government, Provincial and regional departments to ensure cohesion and effective execution. We were responsible for liaison between the various Government departments relating to the protection of the VIPs. With the Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and Priests from the Vatican, President Nelson Mandela, all the 9 provincials Premiers and other prominent politicians including Bishop Tutu all in one place simultaneously, safety was paramount.
We liaised with Foreign Affairs, VIP Security, Government National Intelligence, Vatican Security, Protocol Department, The South African National Defense Force, the South African Police and Traffic Departments, Civic and National Protection Services.
We also managed and co-ordinated the Papal Visit press office for local, national and international television, radio and news reporters. Our function was to handle all accreditation for the event, supply the press with all requirements including broadcasting facilities, fax and phone lines and computer equipment, co-ordinate the security arrangements for the press to access the provided platforms during the event and provide all facilities in order for them to cover the event in their respective field. The press was well catered for as is evident by the media coverage the event received.
The live, three-hour international television broadcast was negotiated by us on behalf of the Church. Over 2 billion people viewed the broadcast of the event worldwide. We organised all aspects of the television broadcast. Over 300 television personnel were present in shifts from 3 days prior to the event. There was also no possibility of a dress rehearsal as the participants in the Mass were coming from all parts of the country and the world. After the event, we negotiated the production and distribution of a 90-minute video of the event for sale worldwide.