Oh yes, a mere six days until all the planning either comes together – or comes to naught. But I reckon there’s absolutely no doubt in everybody’s minds that the Soccer World Cup is going to be epic! (Not to be confused with the Cape Epic, a mountain bike race over 8 days where the lunatics taking part climb the equivalent of Everest twice.) Although this has been a fairly Herculean task, because, after all guys, This Is Africa.
But the spirit of Ubuntu, which is alas sadly lacking the rest of the time, has managed to shine through, and it looks like everything will slot into place, albeit perhaps at the 11th hour.
The shiny new stadia look fantastic, hundreds of thousands of trees have been planted in strategic places by City Parks in Johannesburg, the streets have been kinda cleaned up (although they haven’t finished all the roads, but have taken off the heavy equipment which has been causing havoc on the arterial routes and highways), and the people are getting in on the act en masse.
A friend of mine, who used to live not too far from me in London, and lives not too far from me back here, remarked on one of our meandering walks around our lovely Parks suburbs that she’d been remembering walking in London when Lady Di and Prince Charles were about to get married, and the sense of British – or national – pride that permeated the very air you breathed. Flags, pennants, well wishing signs, and symbols of joy fluttered blithely from most fences, especially when travelling on the overland sections of the underground.
It’s happening here.
Cars have sprouted South African flag ears, as the side mirror socks turn a necessary piece of equipment into something quite colourful. Flags are waving joyously from car aerials, people’s security fences and electric wires (although what that’s doing in terms of shorting out the darned things and making them make that infernal clicking noise all night, the Lord alone knows…), vuvuzelas get blown at strange times, and kids are sporting flag transfers on their faces every day of the week.
Now, I’m a Bokkie, which means my sport of choice is actually rugby. I’ve never really watched a soccer game, unless David Ginola was playing, and although I kind of know the offside rule, I find the one in rugby a lot more interesting!
However, watching teachers, children, ground staff and parents getting up and doing the Diski Dance at a special school soccer event, listening to the children as they brought us fascinating facts about the countries who are coming here to take part in the tournament, and the excitement it generated for all the kids at our little Model C school actually almost brought me to tears. This is what I think so many of us have been waiting for. Finally. A coming together of the people of South Africa. Especially when it comes to getting the Diski Dance right!!