..and it is this time again when entire nations go mad. The biggest mega event of the world will take place for the first time on the African continent. On the 11th of June the Soccer World Cup will kick off in Johannesburg South Africa. Some of you who know me a bit, know that I am very excited about this event. Over the next 6 weeks I will throw in a post or two about South Africa and Soccer. Since I can’t be there I at least can write about it, so bare with me : ).
The World Cup is an opportunity for South Africa. I vividly remember the day when Fifa announced the host for 2010. I was on the highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg and suddenly everyone started to go ballistic on the highway. People were waving out of cars, every horn was honking and I could not figure out why. My car radio was stolen a couple of weeks back and I only later got the message that South Africa is going to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Now, that was 4 years ago, can you try to imagine what the atmosphere is now in South Africa? People are super excited, happy and proud. Everyone knows that the country has problems, but for 6 weeks, all they want is to celebrate Africa and soccer, which is such an important sport in the country.
Infrastructure and Stadiums are ready. Just before the notification that South Africa will be a host, the Gautrain Project kicked off. With the World Cup as a mega event coming up the City completed the section between Johannesburg Airport and Sandton, a major commercial area. Africa has its first high speed train. The party can begin.
South Africans are ready to party and anyone who has been to Africa knows that people can party there. People can sing and dance like no where else in the world. To celebrate the sport South African foot ball fans have a trumpet like instrument which is called Vuvuzela. It makes am amazingly loud sound. Fifa wanted to ban the Vuvuzela from the Stadiums, but they did not succeed. South African Soccer without the Vuvuzela is like American Football without the cheerleaders. I now heard that the Vuvuzelas are actually so loud, that the team is not able to communicate on the field. Well, we will see what will happen, they will figure it out.
Fifa developed a real nice song for the World Cup. It has amazing words and sounds. Unfortunately the song is composed and sang by a Canadian artist. I hope Fifa is getting there act together to include local artists in the opening ceremony and opening concert. Currently there are many international artists and the locals are even planning a strike, which would not be that great for an event that is suppose to unify the world. Well, 8 days left to make a plan.Freshlyground together with Shakira composed another beautiful world cup song called Waka Waka which in the Cameroonian language means “Do it”. This music video certainly picks up on South African culture and history by including the famous leader Shaka of the Zulu people. It is a bit far fetched though to paint Shakira black, with which many people had a problem as it raises racial issues. Have a look at the song and also try to listen to Freshlyground. They are a famous South African band and their songs are just beautiful.
An article in the New York Times stated that South Africa has won many little battles to make the World Cup their own:
“And so South Africans have pushed back — to get easier access to tickets, to see their wealth of musicians included in the FIFA concert and to ensure that more World Cup souvenirs were made in South Africa. Along the way, they have won modest victories that will give the slickly marketed, corporate-branded, monthlong sports spectacular splashes of African authenticity.”
This blog post will get you into the mood to celebrate the world. Just before the World Cup starts next week Friday I will blog about funny commercials and the diski dance. The organizers are still hoping that Nelson Mandela appears for the opening ceremony. That would just be the best. Stay tuned.
Maricki (in World Cup Mood)