Every four years I am transformed into quite the football fan when the world cup rolls around. In the four years in-between tournaments, however, I couldn’t care less about football… except, perhaps, the odd UEFA finals or what have you. But now that the World Cup is over in Germany 2006 and the next one will be held on my home turf in South Africa, I think I might remain enthusiastic about the sport for the next four years.
We certainly have a lot to do in sunny South Africa if we’re going to pull off a successful tournament, but I’m more than certain that we will host the best football world cup ever. I get really angry at that element of South African society that thinks we aren’t capable of hosting the tournament. I even met someone the other day so daft as to comment that they “hope we lose it”. How could anyone be so silly?
The world cup is an incentive for South Africa to fix things. It’s a catalyst for us to sort out our public transport problems. It’s driving crime prevention strategies in the country and it gives us hope that, despite our problems as a country and a continent, that the world still thinks we’re worth investing in. It still sees us as capable and worthy of hosting the largest event in human history (which is what the world cup is).
Take away the world cup and all these things dissolve and I can’t imagine why anyone would want that. This is where I must cast a glare at my fellow white South Africans. I don’t like stereotypes. I certainly do not approve of blind generalisation. But it is an unfortunate fact that many South Africans, and particularly of the paler variety, are complacent, whiny and just plain negative (I’ll leave the other choice adjectives to your imagination). They don’t want to believe in our country. They don’t want to see our government make a success of things. And if we had a good public transport infrastructure and no crime, they would find something else to complain about, no doubt.
Isn’t it time we realise that we need to work together to make progress in our country? Can’t we stop whining about how great the public transport is in England, or how safe we feel in Australia? This isn’t England and, thank god, this isn’t Australia. We’re a unique country with unique problems – and unique people. That’s why I love it here. I wish we could embrace those qualities and move forward as one, appreciative society, instead of just complaining without doing anything about our problems. This is a democracy; by the people for the people. We’re in charge of our own destiny and the citisens of our country are yet to realise the power they have in affecting change.
But I also wish it would rain beer and that the Naked Lady Volleyball League would hold their finals in my lounge. I know that I’m being overly optimistic. You can’t blame me though – amazing things have happened in South Africa. Just over a decade ago we witnessed the only peaceful revolution in history right here. If we can put our past aside and move into a new regime without any substantial violence, then we can certainly do anything. Hopefully the element in our society that thinks otherwise will get their immigration plans finalised, so that the rest of us can get on with business and inject our society with the hope it so desperately needs.
Woza 2010! Woza!