Jun 8, 2010

All eyes on the motherland!

A few years ago, a song titled Kayaby Danny became very popular. The basic premise of the song is about how many of us will be around to see the future (tomorrow, next week, next year) given the fragility of life – from the births of grandchildren to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We have lost many along the way. In my case I lost my father in 2006 and a very dear friend in 2009. But along the way I have welcomed nieces and nephews and it is with them that I’ll be sharing memories of what 2010 means.

I can hardly believe we’re just days away from kick-off at the World Cup. I am not only looking forward to the tournament because of the football but because on this rare occasion all eyes will be on Africa, and the reason is not a negative one.

We won’t be hearing about Zuma and his harem or about Mugabe sipping on Moét and eating caviar while Zimbabweans barely have enough sadza or about Rupiah Banda being urinated on by a monkey at a press conference.

Instead, we’ll have football and the wonderful faces of a continent reinvigorated on display. Pardon me the incorrect grammar, but “we love us some football!”

As I count down the days and hours, I’ll also be spending time in prayer asking that this event be not usurped by the lunatics that have already made international travel for the brown man a tedious and harassing affair.

Who knows when another 2010 will come to the motherland? Let us make the most of this occasion and make memories to last a lifetime. The spotlight is burning with a fierce intensity.


Whats your view on the moral difficulties with this world cup?

The government is spending $3bn when the same money can save the lives of children and women.

I watched a shocking programme where women were routinely raped and children abused in South Africa. Rather spending money on these issues the government is spending it on an event for the rich.

I would be very interested to know how those watching this world cup are able to do so, given these difficult moral questions.

Chola, I will admit that the preparations for the upcoming tournament have been severely flawed and the long-term benefits that were promised will not be delivered. When the announcement was made in 2004, I thought SA was uniquely suited to host this mega-event given the infrastructure that already existed in terms of stadiums, hotels, airports, roads, etc. These supported the earlier Rugby and Cricket World Cups and the Confederations Cup and should have sufficed this time around. However, the government made the misguided decision to only rehabilitate 5 stadiums and build the remaining 5 in areas that cannot support them once the tourney is over – the ubiquitous white elephant project!

It has also been off putting to see vendors outside the stadiums pushed out on match days in favour of official corporate sponsors such as McDonalds. They will have limited access to fans that would otherwise buy their wares (food and football paraphernalia), and will realise little benefit from this occasion. FIFA and the politically connected in SA will reap the most profits from this event, and the country will be saddled with a debt that will likely take generations to pay off.

Unfortunately this is not unique to SA, as we saw with the Beijing and Greece Olympic Games. Perhaps with the world arriving at its doorstep and seeing the potential that exists investors will be attracted to set up shop, and thus helping spur true job creation and opening the economic door for the people of SA.

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