A number of people have termed this first World-Cup to be held on African soil as ‘Africa’s Moment’ and to lots of Africans, it is stirring up emotions only comparable to a long tarried independence.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki is quoted as saying that the 2010 FIFA World-Cup would be the moment the African continent “turned the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict”. Really?
Some developments over the recent past in South Africa have put many on the anxious mode. A lot of people are pondering on whether South Africans will have their best hospitality foot forward, or decide to wash their dirty laundry right in full-view of the entire world.
Below are some possible ugly sights that the world might be treated to. Travelling football fans will surely be aware that South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world. With 50 murders a day, violent carjacking and rapes, it will be quite something for the travelers to ‘hang loose’ and enjoy the football games with this at the back of their minds.
Public transport workers or any other workers for that matter may also decide to use the tournament to their maximum benefit. Strikes and demonstrations are in the offing as they know full well that they will have the full attention of their government.
This already being the most expensive World Cup ever, there is growing disillusionment about the benefits of this tournament, especially to the poor.
The brand new state-of-the-art stadiums, roads, rails and bus networks are beginning to mean that those already with jobs will get to them faster and that the poor will remain poor.
Many who believed the tournament would improve their lives have just been awakened to the fact that it was all a joke. Traders have been rounded up and told to relocate their businesses away from the stadiums as they are not ‘Official FIFA Commercial Partners.’ I cannot bet against these people attempting to make a point once the tournament kicks off.
What about the racial hatred that is so easy to whip up in South Africa?
The scenes we saw of racial insults and threats being flung around after the murder of White supremacist leader, Terreblanche, by black farm-workers, shed more light on the state of the Rainbow Nation.
It is evident that both sides are all too willing to engage violently if any opportunity is handed to them. These are just some of the questions that are out there about South Africa during this tournament.
Allow me to be a bit extreme and say that I cannot confirm to you which song fellows will be howling when the South African football team - Bafana Bafana take to the field.
It can be anything from their prayerful anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica (God Bless Africa) to the controversial anti-apartheid song ‘Shoot the Boer’ depending on how the country wakes up.
As a football fan, I pray they forget their ails for a while and put on a beautiful tournament for the world. We will appreciate that.