It’s hard to miss that the World Cup is upon Cape Town- with the townships, City Centre, and Fan Parks partying away and vuvuzelas raging all night in many areas, Cape Tonians are ready to celebrate! I must say, while I’m not the biggest soccer fan, I think Fifa, in some senses got it right. While the rest of the world may have its doubts about South Africa’s ability to pull the games off, its been a real pleasure to watch South African spirit from the inside. People reminisce to the 1995 Rugby World Cup and Mandela’s uniting actions. In some cheesy way, for many South Africans, the return of a global sporting event really does signify the success and survival of the “Rainbow Nation.” It’s what international sporting events used to personify- human spirit and unity- but seems to have been lost elsewhere. So while Fifa has its many issues, South Africa at least has it somewhat right.
I’d say that most South Africans are pretty aware that Bafana Bafana chances are slim to none and I’m not sure that so many actually care. Perhaps its relief to have no expectations or perhaps the focus is on something bigger. There’s a lot of pride around- in history, change, progress, culture, spirit; and a health dose of defiance as well- a ‘we’ll show the doubters and the world” mentality. Above it all, there’s simply the excitement for a big ol party. So for the next few weeks, I’m looking forward to taxi’s hooting, vuvuzelas blowing, and general excitement. It’s time South Africa got some good press and that South African’s get to reflect on positive progress.
5 hours to go til kick off and 10 and a half hours to the first Cape Town match. If you’re in Cape Town on holiday and for some unknown reason on the computer and reading blogs- head out, escape the confines of the Waterfront, meet some locals, and get a feel for the peoples’ excitement! Take a run up the mountain, jump in the frigid ocean, revel in the glorious clear air we have today and, for a moment, forget about the bigger problems and enjoy life.
Looking forward to Mandela at the opening and a boogie-ing Archbishop Tutu.