I know that many doubters, unbelievers, naysayers have been made to swallow humble pie after predicting that this year's World Cup would be a failure because it was hosted by South Africa. Not so. And I know many fans, foreigners, visitors can attest to that fact. South Africa is not only made up of safari, bushveld, gravel, etc. No, no. We are a 'Rainbow Nation', a developing one at that and, this World Cup has only gone on to affirm that.
This World Cup has done a lot to dispel numerous untruths, myths and fables about South Africa.
Soccer City hosted the opening and closing games. Everyone, I mean everyone, including foreigners can attest that it is a world class facility. The funny thing came when I was reading an article somewhere on the internet and there was a remark from a foreign journalist that the stadium looked incomplete. Not knowing that it was designed to look like a calabash. Incomplete..? The same could be said about the 'Bird's Nest' in Beijing.
I am an African. These were opening words to former president Thabo Mbeki's parliamentary speech a few years ago. This World Cup was awarded during his tenure as president and the above image is symbolic of the continuation of his African renaissance legacy and how far we've come as a nation.
A celebration and amalgamation of cultures. Since it was the first African World Cup the opening and closing ceremonies had to be distinctly african. Incorporating all South African cultures.
A very common occurrence in Africa, reining in the press.
South Africa's twelfth man on the pitch as coined by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. It's incredible how this instrument, the vuvuzela, was slated and condemned by many in the foreign media and those watching on tv all over the world, only to see their fellow country men visiting South Africa, adopting and using it as their instrument of choice at soccer games. FIFA did not ban the instrument with good reason, as it forms part of South African sports culture.
The moment months of hard work all came together: Siphiwe Tshabalala's opening goal in the opening match against Mexico. I can assure you that this goal forms one of the pinnacle moments in World Cup history. Although the game ended in a draw I was extremely satisfied with the result.
In a nutshell this is Day 1 of a 31 day recap of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.