Do you believe the truth is out there?

By Shaun Smillie

The truth is out there or, at least, that is what one in three South Africans believe when it comes to alien life.

A new survey has found that 30 percent of South Africans support the claim by Agent Fox Mulder of X-files that we are not alone... They believe that life exists on other planets.

The research, conducted by TNS Research Surveys, involved a sample of 2 000 adults, older than the age of 18, living in one of seven cities in South Africa.

What researchers found was that while 30 percent of people supported the idea of life on other worlds, a majority 43 percent disagreed.

Neil Higgs, the Director: Innovation and Development at TNS Research Surveys, was surprised by the findings.

"It was an eye opener at how low the number of believers is.

"I thought that it would be at 60 percent."

The profile of a believer appears nothing like that of Agent Mulder, said Higgs. Rather it was someone who was younger, black and male.

Blacks accounted for 35 percent of the believer tally and whites 33 percent.

Incidentally, 38 percent of Zulu males supported the idea of alien life.

Coloured and Indians stood at 23 percent and 24 percent.

The city with the most believers was East London, with 47 percent, while 36 percent of Johannesburg respondents believed in UFOs and the area surveyed with the fewest believers was the West Rand with five percent.

The research comes on the back of recent astronomical discoveries which have included the discovery of 300 planets, some of which are believed to be earth-like, with water - a prerequisite of life as we know it.

The question, which was asked during a face-to-face interview, was: "Do you believe in life on other planets", with options of agree, disagree or don't know.

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