WHEREVER they originate, the latest rumours about impending xenophobic attacks on African immigrants after the World Cup tournament are dangerous and require pre-emptive action by authorities to nip them in the bud.
As always happens, rumours start with a whisper which spreads in a flash and so gain credence as they land among more ears.
It is therefore not surprising that no source has been identified as being responsible for the rumours that have been circulating since the start of the World Cup. For that, we are reminded of baseball legend John Tudor who, speaking on the perils of rumours, said: "A rumour without a leg to stand on will get around some other way."
Rumours pose a dilemma for the media, which are damned to report on them, as doing so gives them credence and scope, and damned if they don't, in case they turn out to be true in the end.
Either way, agent provocateurs tend to ultimately achieve their objectives since even the most incredulous of rumours does create a climate of fear - which is what is happening in the Western Cape, where hundreds of Zimbabwean immigrants have dumped their shelters to flee.
The timing of the rumours is worrying and suspicious as much as the motive behind them .
They make no sense at all since they fly in the face of the huge spirit of camaraderie among Africans generated by the tournament.
We must denounce these deadly rumours with the same conviction that underlies our allegiance to Mother Africa.