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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

world cup is over and south africa falls silent

The neighbourhood sounds freakishly quiet, schools are back, the working world has returned, there are no kids playing in the streets, and.. I don’t hear vuvuzelas! It’s almost eerie.
Being one of the few South Africans who, prior to the world cup, was positive that South Africa could pull it off, even I was blown away at how adeptly South Africa hosted the world cup, like we’re regulars at this! I think Brazil should hire South Africa to run their world cup for them!
They estimate about 2 billion people were watching the world cup. That’s 4 billion eyes on South Africa, 20 billion fingers and toes jumping and clapping as they cheer! I swear I could feel the earth bounce when Ghana scored their goal in the quarterfinals. I’ve never seen such amazing unity in any nation than I have over these past 6 weeks. Businessmen and beggars have a common topic of discussion, who are you supporting and what do you think is going to happen in the next game??

A sad realisation of the world cup was how it really is a money making endeavour for FIFA. They don’t care much at all about the country it is being held in. Instead of promoting as much South African and African revenue as possible, they go with what earns them the most money. Can you believe that the ONLY official food company allowed in the stadium grounds was McDonalds - not Steers, not Nando’s, McDonalds! And the ONLY beer served in the grounds - not Castle, not Windhoek, Budweiser! Which you don’t even get in South Africa, period! Thanks FIFA for giving our visitors a real taste of.. America. (to my American readers, this is a stab a FIFA not America and plus having now been to America I know it has way better things to offer than McDonald’s burgers and Budweiser beer). The advertisements in the stadium are companies that we’ve never seen or even heard of. Many FIFA adverts are not even filmed in South Africa. This has been the most profitable world cup for FIFA, maybe because they didn’t pay the security contracts?? Hundreds of thousands of security folks were not even paid!! And when they protested, they promptly got fired, losing their jobs altogether.

But through it all, South Africa was amazing! When I was in the US, I remember writing about how awesome it was that Americans would have the US flag flying even from people’s homes and that I really liked this open display of pride for their country. I can now say that South Africa has achieved this in full glory. Not only have flags been raised in peoples back yards and across the gates of their homes, but flags are painted on faces, shirts, scarves, hats, converted 3D glasses J. Every item you buy has the SA flag on its packaging, every shop window has flags strung across it, people’s cars are dressed in flags in every way perceivable and my all time favourite was a quiet most unlikely haberdashery which had even taken the time to stack their wool balls in the window in the shape, size and colours of the South African flag. That made me really smile!

South African pride is hanging off every edge perceivable and it is tucked into every corner of our nation. How far we have come in 16years! We would never have seen and come to know this if it wasn’t for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. And no matter what might come in times ahead, we will always know and remember the unity, the flags, the faces of South Africa dancing side by side. May this be a platform for South Africa’s future.


Sam said...

Awesome Mands! I agree with every single word - and Im so glad I was in SA for this seriously historic month for our country!

Christopher Murray said...

True story, but there will always be those nay sayers, their cannon fodder however, is starting to dwindel

Brian said...

Well said Moo! Everyone is asking how we can keep the "gees" going after the World Cup. Maybe part of that process is looking back and realising, as you say, how far we've come. After the '95 Rugby World Cup, we thought we couldn't get higher, yet along came FIFA and raised the bar - and we exceeded it!! Here's looking forward to the next big event to grace our shores.

Lionel said...

Nicely put Mandy :-)

Anonymous said... Mandy...I have just cried and proudly South African tear drop. You go girl!