South Africa wins 2010 World Cup!
South Africa can be proud. Super proud. Uber proud. Why? Because the country and its people have shown the world what they are all about. This land has managed to prove the nay-sayers wrong, by showing them that this magnificent Rain Bow nation is more then the usual clichés.
No, there have not been terror attacks. No, British football fans have not been subjected to a blood bath. No, there have not been sprees of hooliganism. No, there was no need for anti-stab vests. No, there have not been devastating earth quakes or Tsunamis. No, there have not been scores of bandits who pillaged, murdered and raped their way through city centres.
Yes, there have been incidents of crime – but honestly, that not was no different during previous world cups. Everywhere in the world, especially during large gatherings of people with lots of money, there are opportunists that take advantage of others.
The past few weeks in South Africa have been …. indescribable. I get goose bumps only thinking about it. The sense of unity and humanity among South Africans has been mind-blowing. Watching Bafana at Cape Town’s Grand Parade kicking France’s butt was one of the highlights of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. How amazing was it to see South Africans from all walks of life, shades, colours, ages, and professions standing side by side and flying into each others arms when Bafana scored one goal after the other! How amazing was it to walk the Fan Walk together with so many different people who had one single objective: to celebrate the fact that South Africa indeed proved to be incredibly capable of hosting an event like the world cup.
Of course the world cup will not put an full stop to serious problems like inequality, poverty, joblessness, homelessness, poor education and inadequate health. Neither will the world cup put an end to the threat of xenophobic violence, which persists every day. But it can contribute to change in the long run.
The football world cup for starters has triggered a tsunami of positive publicity for this wonderful, beautiful and complex country that deserves all the chances it can get to make the wrongs of both the past and the present right. This is in sharp contrast with the previous months and years. For some reason quite a few especially Western media seemed to be seeking a reason to put South Africa down. It was as if they were waiting for this country to fall flat on its face. This did not happen. On the contrary.
This stream of positive news will contribute to a changed perception of South Africa, which could lead to more foreign investment. If this happens, this will lead to more jobs, more income for the government and thus more room to spend on social infrastructure such as schools, clinics and houses. This will be beneficial to many of the problems stated above. Poverty and joblessness are two key ingredients of most problems that South Africa faces.
Due to this wave of positive publicity, one can also expect a growth of tourism. While The Netherlands and Spain are preparing for their big showdown on July 11 2010, thousands and thousands of people around the world regret the fact that they did not come over to South Africa. I know so, because I get emails on a daily basis. The essence of those messages: “We were so stupid. Sorry we did not believe you. We now realise that South Africa has a lot to offer. We want to come down next year or the year after.”
Well, I told them so. And it feels good to rub that in. As someone who truly believes in South Africa’s potential, without ignoring its various problems and challenges, I applaud this change of perception. It was about time. Ke Nako.
My friends are certainly not the only ones. So with herds of ‘new tourists’ that will flock to this magnificent country, tourism (one of the most important contributors to the GDP) will certainly grow. This again means again more jobs, more revenue for the government, less people living in poverty. If you do not live in poverty, there is no reason to resort to criminal activities. If you do not live in poverty, your kids have a chance to go to school which means it is easier for them to get a job and to escape their situation.
All in all, who ever wins the 2010 FIFA World Cup: South Africa and South Africans are the true winners of this tournament. Well done South Africa. I raise my glass to you. I am proud. Proud at you. Proud at the people you harbour. Proud at the humanity and unity you have shown. Proud at the fact that you made people from abroad believe in you. Proud at the South Africans who have gained new faith in their country.
I am however, first and foremost, proud to be able to live here.
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