In exactly eleven days time history will be made on the African continent, with South Africa hosting the World Cup football competition for the first time ever.
So are South African’s happy to be part of history making? Living in Cape Town, I have always felt that our region is different to the rest of the country, in fact I remember my grandmother telling me that in reference to politics! Let’s not go there now, but if anyone has not ventured out of the burbs towards our city centre then I could maybe forgive you for thinking that nothing’s going on.
Those that have been in and around the city will know that there is a buzz, a collective rush of positive vibe and energy – an expectation. Our stadium has been completed since October 2009 (yes, at a cost of R4,4 billion) and our football pitch has been deemed the best in the country (yes, at a cost of R6 million). However, road and public transport improvements have also been realised that will benefit us all in years to come.
We will be challenged during the event, especially on match days when roads around and near to the stadium close down. But, there is every opportunity to meet foreigners and celebrate in the Public Viewing Areas, thus sharing the spirit of ubuntu.
Word on the street is that Fifa is running our country – quite correct! Are you shocked, dismayed? You should not be as that is part and parcel of what running a World Cup competition involves – taking control and ensuring that your product is protected, safeguarded and that no one else muscles in on your act.
Where does this leave our hardworking South African who had the idea of cashing in during the event? Well, I am not going to talk about scenario’s involving people taking loans to upgrade their properties etc., but I would like to remind the corner shop owner, taxi driver, restaurant waitron, clothing store assistant, mobile phone operator – anyone and everyone coming into contact with local and international tourists that you are all part of South African tourism. Apart from being a brand ambassador for your product or service, you are a brand ambassador for your country.
Forgive me if I run around for the next month chanting FIFA, FIFA, but I want this world cup event to succeed and I want my country to succeed – FIVA, FIVA. Those nay-sayers who offered to step in to run the competition, where are you now ?