I’ve always been an “SA-positive” South African. Especially since 1994 and that small matter of us becoming a democracy. But this most stunningly beautiful of all World Cups has the bell at the top of my Positiv-o-meter clanging like Oprah Winfrey running wild and loose in the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra’s brass section.
I want to have a word in the shell-like (ear) of the editor of London’s Daily Star, a rag for which South Africa as host country of the world’s premier football competition was total anathema. A gutter-press tabloid which trotted out every potential disaster it could think of as reason why a World Cup in our chaotic, useless cadaver of a country at the southern tip of parlous Africa would fail.
Then I would take him into a padded cell, truss him up in some seriously heavy-duty rope, hold a blowtorch close to his left big toe and firmly tweak his lying nose every time he blinked. No, I’m not all that happy with him.
Um. Where was I? Oh, yes. I was at the Fifa Fan Fest on Durban’s beachfront for Brazil vs Portugal last Friday afternoon. I want to run you through that a bit, if I may.
First, the huge area cordoned off for fans to watch the match on a ginormous screen happened to be almost entirely comprised of warm, golden sand. Beach bliss. The weather, as is typical of Durban in mid-winter, was warm, even sultry. Everything was fantastically well organised and I didn’t have to wait long to get my hands on a boerie roll (boerewors roll, a kind of hotdog but only way better).
Most people wore shorts with their vuvuzelas and were impeccably behaved despite many drinking vast quantities of beer. It was a blast and only Brazil v Portugal, neither having to try too hard to qualify for the final round, let the side down.
Oh, I’ve got a couple of pics to portray the general vibe of the elated throng enjoying the beach party while watching a bit of World Cup football. Here we go…
Thousands had a jol (party) as the match played out on the giant screen. Nice.
And nobody enjoyed it more than The Popsicle, who made sure she had the best view of all the action
It's not all bad watching World Cup football on warm sand just a handful of metres from the Indian Ocean
I made a new friend in Luyanda (2) who was dead cool in his outsized spectacles. All pix: Marcelle Delew-Kappen
All in all, not an entirely shabby afternoon/evening. I thought I coped quite well with it. No problems, a beautiful vibe. South African ubuntu (togetherness) at its very best. Well done to Durban’s Fan Fest. Wait. I’ll go further than that. Well done, South Africa. And I mean all of you. All of you “SA-positive” people who have embraced this World Cup and offered the traditional warm hand of friendship to our foreign guests.
You are all beautiful. So wonderful that I’m going to give you the rest of the week off work. Just tell your boss that I said so. Just do it. He’ll understand. You deserve it.
South Africa’s World Cup is a disgrace: “We should be outraged that a country with such a brutal history of forced removals has, in order to create the right brand attributes, evicted the urban poor and rounded up the homeless. Dumped into so-called “temporary relocation areas” and “transit camps” (during the preliminary draw street children were even held in Westville prison) these disowned South Africans make a mockery of the struggle against apartheid.” – The London Guardian
A Stage to Sell What Soccer Has to Offer: “(Danny) Jordaan said he told the students that ‘the only Africans in this world who are not playing soccer are the African-Americans, so if you want to be true Africans, you must play the sport of Africa.’ Jordaan was reminded that young African-Americans are often pushed, pulled and drafted in all sorts of athletic directions. They are staples of football and basketball recruiting pools, and Major League Baseball has established an initiative to help the sport grow in urban areas. Soccer, on the other hand, has been slow to follow suit. But Jordaan was unmoved. ‘The primary sport on the continent is football,’ Jordaan said of Africa. ‘Go wherever on the continent, the sport is soccer. So, we want to bring you home.’ – The New York Times
WAG World Cup Warning – They’re Easy Target For Yobs: “Rory Steyn, who used to guard Nelson Mandela, is involved in the huge World Cup security operation facing the trouble-torn country [South Africa]. He warned that WAGs, including Alex Curran, 27, and Victoria Beckham, 36, may be at more risk of being robbed than players or other fans. Steyn, a one-time police superintendent, said: ‘My advice to the WAGs is don’t go out alone, don’t wear expensive jewellery or be walking around flaunting expensive designer handbags.’” – London Daily Star
Coming Full Circle- Nelson Mandela and the World Cup Trophy: Back in 2004 when they announced the winner of the right to host the 2010 World Cup, a giddy Nelson Mandela was in attendance with the World Cup trophy (above), and so were his tears. Moments like this sends flashes aflutter – the hearts of photogs too. Six years later the World Cup has made it back into the hands of Mandela, and he’s no less thrilled. The smile tells the story. There will be a number of iconic, timeless photos to come out of the World Cup, and this might just be one. Nelson Mandela with his hand on the trophy, a big youthful grin across his 91 year old face. - World Cup Blog
Pic: AP Photo, The Mandela Foundation & http://www.worldcupblog.org
Shakira’sWorld Cup Song isn’t Going Over so Great: With alltheproblems facing this summer’s World Cup in South Africa, the last thing it needed was trouble over something as silly as the tournament’s official anthem, but that’s exactly what Shakira’s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” is causing among South Africans and many others who have endured it. The song hit radio stations last week, with Johannesburg locals responding with comments like “It’s horrible” and “How is Shakira going to sing the African part of it?” (My guess is with her voice, but a Speak & Spell could be a fun choice, too.) – Dirty Tackle, a Yahoo! sports blog
All in the day of the life of the average South African, I suppose. We just roll like that. As 2010 World Cup fans will be delighted to discover when they step out of our airports in early June to find many of us scaling tall buildings without hooks and crampons (or whatever wussy mountaineers use). Tall buildings like World Cup stadiums as we couldn’t afford/were too lazy to buy a ticket and we’re trying to climb in for mahala (free).
But I digress. Back to the dolphins. Because that’s what I want to chat about today. Dolphins. I just love ‘em. Don’t you just love ‘em? Yes. You do. And, here in the paradise we call South Africa, we tend to ignore the drivel that British rag the Daily Star trots out daily about imaginary earthquakes and machete massacres in our country and focus on the loads of positive stuff that surrounds us.
Like dolphins. Never mind all the whales and sharks you can wave to from your wetsuit in the waves, we are literally surrounded ocean-to-ocean by beautiful dolphins and the positive vibe they are always putting out. I so dig that.
Now, the bit of bioscope (they call it video these days) footage I am about to show you wasn’t created by some National Geographic geek on his mega-Mac after a film crew bigger than the one that made Avatar had returned from pointing 20 cameras at our ocean for six months. No, this shaky-cam piece of fillim is the result of a couple of ordinary South African okes spending their Freedom Day messing about on a boat off Cape Point.
One thousand dolphins, Hatpeople! Yes. Een duisend! Ja, you read me right. Local digital marketing guru Andy Hadfield and his mates (actually I think it was Terence Faul waving the camera) filmed at least 1,000 dolphins (conservative estimate) chasing around after a baitball yesterday.
OK. So make a cuppa (or whatever is your poison for this time of day), kick back and be blown away (remember this is not National Geographic so make an allowance for there being no zoom shots of the dolphins’ eyes or whatever)…
How was that? Pretty damn cool, hey? I mean, you couldn’t see all one thousand – or two thousand or whatever – really close-up but you got a sense of the phenomenon being played out right there in our sea just off the Cape, didn’t you?
Yup, that’s how it is in our beloved country. One moment you’re just cruising around looking for a good spot to stop and stick the steaks on the braai and the next thing you’re having a total jol with thousands of dolphins or elephants or whiteys trying to do the toyi-toyi while Helen Zille holds her own Freedom Day rally or, yes, heavily muscled bikers looking for new friends with whom to play Charades at the corner pub.
It’s an exciting place to be, South Africa. No wonder, now that we and not Britain are hosting the 2010 World Cup, those jealous, pasty-faced journos at the Daily Star have to dream up rubbish with which to try to embarrass us. Plonkers.
Just wait till they come to cover the World Cup. I’m going to take them free diving with Great Whites. Some really angry ones. And start some fights with them. Just so that they get a taste of the extreme sports that we enjoy every day. And make the Daily Star hacks feel right at home here in the most wonderful country in the world.
The South African government has moved speedily to rubbish a report by a British tabloid newspaper that ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was linked to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, leading to a humungous cloud of ash which has grounded almost all the world’s aeroplanes.
The Daily Star, which has already reported – scurrilously and erroneously it must be hastily added – that there is likely to be a “major earthquake” in South Africa during the staging of the 2010 World Cup, splashed over its front page this morning that Malema had been deployed by the South African government to provide the spark for the volcanic eruption in order to ensure that Bafana Bafana, 1,000,000/1 outsiders to even draw a match, lifts the World Cup trophy.
“ANC firebrand tries to blowtorch SA to WC2010 glory” screamed the Daily Star’s page one lead headline. The tabloid rag, widely considered to be the finest exponent of a laughable British gutter press, went on to describe to its readers how the bellicose Malema was “as nutty as squirrels poo” and more than fiery enough to have ignited the volcano in Eyjafjallajokull, which erupted to spectacular effect last week.
But this “SA-positive” blog can, due to its hotline to Mr Malema, a close connection of ours, exclusively reveal that the South African government has shot down these absurd allegations.
A load of hot air... the South African government has rubblished claims by a British tabloid that Julius Malema was behind the volcanic eruption at Eyjafjallajokull
“Julius is certainly not as nutty as squirrels poo and it is very mischievous of the Daily Star to suggest he is so,” said Ms Lolly Lavalampeka, spokesperson for the Department of Pyrotechnics, Teutonic Plate Shifts, Volcanic Eruptions, Malevolent Malematics and Other Unnatural Disasters. “He is far nuttier than that.
“OK, so it is true that we did meet with the Department of Sport to discuss devious ways in which our national soccer team could win the World Cup on home soil,” continued Ms Lavalampeka, seemingly unwittingly implicating South Africa in the volcanic eruption which has led to one helluva aviatic disruption. “And one of our brightest young sparks brainstormed that if we could get all flights to our country grounded, then none of the hotshot teams would be able to come to play here and Bafana Bafana would be awarded the World Cup by default.”
“The Department of Sport guys seemed to warm to the idea so all stakeholders looked at the possibility of getting a large and very angry volcano in the northern hemisphere to erupt and spew hot ash into the atmosphere, thereby stopping all flights to South Africa for the World Cup. We were considering using all of the explosives and armaments stashed away by the old apartheid regime inside hollow mountains and down disused mineshafts for this purpose.
“But when the words ‘large, very angry, erupt, spew and fouling the atmosphere” came into our conversation, we had a collective epiphany and decided to approach young Julius to do the job. But we were delayed because, as somebody pointed out, he was busy erupting and spewing and generally larging it up in a very angry way in Zimbabwe at the time. I must say that we had wondered why it was so quiet in South Africa,” added Ms Lavalampeka.
“Then we were unfortunately and unexpectedly forced to cancel ‘Operation Malematic Eruption’,” lamented Lavalampeka. “Why?” asked this blog.
“Well, one of the roleplayers in our task team happened to catch the seven o’clock news on SABC3 and heard President Zuma say that he won’t rest in his efforts to stamp out eruption within the ruling party. We took this to mean that he was trying to get Julius to shut up and so we decided it was in the national interest to drop the whole idea.
“But then, much to our surprise, the volcano at wherever that place is in Iceland went and blew up anyway. So there’s still a chance that the black cloud over Europe has a silver lining for Bafana Bafana. But we would like to categorically state that neither us or Mr Julius Malema had anything to do with it whatsoever,” exclaimed Ms Lavalampeka.
There. That’s all cleared up then. Unlike the volcanic ash cloud. But this very convincing denial by our government does, however, beg the very big question… where and how does the Daily Star get its bizarre stories?