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Published: July 23rd 2010
You know this is no ordinary city when you arrive at home and the dogs have a routine of barking at the car when you open the gate. Then sprint down the driveway when you get out just in case some intruder is thinking of coming through the open gate before it closes. This was the introduction to our World Cup base in Ranburg, a safe area of Johannesburg.
That first paragraph is true of South Africa but it is an unfair reflection of the country as a whole. Yes it has violence (of which I did not see), yes there is poverty etc. But this World Cup was a coming of age for not only South Africa but the whole of Africa. This was South Africa’s chance to be judged on its current achievement not from its past.
Most people get paranoid about the dangers of Africa and this World Cup for the people who attended would most likely go back positive about the safety levels. Reports on TV suggested locals were concerned that muggings, hijacking etc. would ruin the World Cup but it seems that the whole nation has gotten behind it.
Most places were dulled
up in flags. Shops and restaurants had TV’s showing the games. Even the street vendors were in on the act selling fake merchandise. The most enthusiastic of them all were the guys at the set of lights who would risk their life for a sale. I don’t know how many times I thought one would get run over as he crossed the intersection without looking. But… you know, have to love their enthusiasm!
We drove to all the games and the roads were of high quality majority of the way. The only fault was that sometimes the road works weren’t complete. We’d joke “Oh they must be getting ready for the World Cup.” I think that is one of the things that does impress though. It’s the overall construction of the country. It shows that the country has the potential to be successful for all citizens. At the moment about half of South Africa’s wealth is concentrated to 10% of population. It is that gap which is probably why our car once put into drive, its doors would lock automatically to prevent high jackings.
What was good to see was all locals supporting the World Cup even Rugby
supporters who are up their with some of the most one track sporting minds in the world (at times). But there is one thing they don’t agree on and that is the Vuvuzela, which is banned from Springbok matches after the World Cup. What an ear-piercing device that was. I can understand the purpose of it when South Africa were playing but it did prevent the supporters who had come all the way to Africa to cheer on their team and do it properly. It was an atmosphere killer. What a Communist cheering tool that was. Eventually you just give up until there is a brake and a chance to rebel and revolutionise the stadiums atmosphere.
The time of year didn’t help either being winter. The chances of seeing some skimpy clad Latina hottie were limited in this World Cup. The 16-degree days and 2-degree nights just didn’t encourage.
The stadiums were outstanding! That is one thing about sport - its stadia. Apart from Durban, which was the Anna Kornikova of the Stadia world - Pretty to look at but shit to sit down and watch a game. They all had something different about them. Seating was disappointing
a few times. We were separated for one game and had a pole in the way during the semi final.
Many people have said that this was a well organised World Cup “for Africa” and I think that is a terrible way of looking at it. This World Cup was suppose to change peoples opinion on South Africa. It is a chance for the country to move on to the next stage of its history. It is a chance for the World to finally not see Africa as 3rd class citizens. So I’ll make my judgement not on “for Africa”.
I thought it was a good World Cup. It was disadvantaged because of winter. It had the ideas in place like the shuttle buses. But why not have a bus lane when it was peak hour in Durban. The Durban airport fiasco when 5 planes couldn’t land meaning people couldn’t get to the game. Running out of food and beer (incl. the final) There were negatives to this World Cup but there were positives. One of the lasting memories will be the friendly enthusiastic locals who were very welcoming despite them being annoying with the vuvuzela.
the ringing of the ears heel I think it was a successful World Cup, which reached its goal of re-introducing the world to Africa.
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