Right. Nobody is more “SA-positive” than me about our increasingly beautiful World Cup.
And I am loving the football fans who have come to experience the first African staging of our planet’s premier football tournament.
Especially the ones who have chosen to embrace the South Africanness of this World Cup. And most especially the ones who have entered into the uniquely beautiful human spirit of our party and parp vuvuzelas in their nation’s colours.
Now, here’s a succinct and simple message to the rest: “Don’t you dare touch us on our vuvuzelas.” And stop trying to impose your social mores on we South Africans.
We have been very nice to you so far, going out of our way to welcome you to our warm-hearted country and making every effort to help you feel at home. So don’t think you can come here (or sit in your faraway lounges) and colonise the way we celebrate soccer!
How rude. How patronising. We blow vuvuzelas at South African PSL (Premier Soccer League) matches weekend in, weekend out. And we’re not going to stop just because you prefer to sing songs – often obscene and abusive towards your opponents – and make provocative gestures at people wearing different colours on the other side of the stadium.
We South Africans prefer to celebrate the beautiful game by parping on vuvuzelas rather than chanting obcenities at opposing fans
I was at Italia 90. I’ve stood with the Liverpool away support and had coins thrown at me by Manchester United’s Stretford End. I’ve been chased by Leeds United hooligans through their city after a match at Elland Road. I’ve stood next to shaven-headed thugs at The Den while Millwall’s filthiest directed monkey chants at John Barnes and threw bananas at him. I’ve experienced the hate of the Ultras at Serie A matches in Italy. I’ve been caught up in scuffles and nearly run over by a Metropolitan police horse outside West Ham United’s Upton Park.
I could go on and on and on. But I won’t. There are many societal issues that need fixing in my country… but football hooliganism isn’t one of them. We South Africans know all about racial abuse. it is well documented. I don’t need to attempt to describe what South Africa has been through. We are doing what we can to build a nation. The vibe around this World Cup is taking us forward in mighty leaps and bounds. Vuvuzelas, makarapas, giant sunglasses, diski dancing and our inclination to express ourselves in a overwhelming generosity of spirit is, I believe, without parallel in world football.
This is how we blow in South Africa. Get over it!
Do not tell us how we should enjoy ourselves at our World Cup, even if we have extended to you the most magnanimous of invitations. How dare you? How dare you tell us to stop making a noise so that your cheapshot chants and silly songs can be heard? We have grovelled, we have scraped and we have apologised non-stop for 16 years for the horror that was apartheid. Enough is enough. We will not tolerate being told by sanctimonious twerps with superiority complexes living in boring and over-regulated countries how we should run our World Cup. And we will no longer stand for the fatuous trash spewed out about our nation by the British tabloid gutter press. As John Major didn’t quite say, put up AND shut up!
Africa may seem a somewhat chaotic continent to you with your over-polite, mannered and absurdly “politically correct” social regimes but we actually like living a bit on the edge. We thrive on adventure, a bit of danger and the constant frisson of excitement that comes with living alongside unpredictability and more than a tad disorganisation. That’s how we roll in Africa.
So I’ll say it once and once only: Buy, borrow or steal some earplugs and dare to join the greatest party on earth… or stay at home, switch off the telly and stick to trimming your hedges.
* I have joined the London Guardian’s World Cup Fans Network for the duration of the World Cup football finals. It is a phenomenal concept, one which uses Twitter to bring the voices (or tweets) of fans from all 32 competing countries together on one forum for the tournament. If you would like to see what I’m saying about Bafana Bafana and the impact on South Africa of the biggest sporting event to ever be staged in our beloved country, follow my tweets by following me on Twitter! If Facebook is more your social media thang, go to my Facebook profile and request to be a friend or simply join the \”Fred Hatman\” group for updates on my latest blogposts… which are not only about the World Cup!
OK. You Hatpeople brave enough to regularly enter this blogspace know that my mission in life is to enrich yours. That’s what I do. I can’t help it. I was put on this planet to make you feel better.
To help you rise above the drudgery of your daily lives in South Africa, a country painted by London tabloid newspapers as being more barren of pleasure than the Siberian hamlet of Hellonearthagrad, a South African nation on the brink of civil war and facing certain episodes of earthquake, volcanic eruption, drought, floods, terrorist attacks, general pestilence and regular outbreaks of typhoid, scurvy and the particularly nasty Malemaria. All of this during the four weeks of the World Cup.
Oh, and yellow fever… which a medical expert at Groote Schuur Hospital tells me has no cure and involves millions of free radicals moving around the body of South Africa wearing yellow jerseys, blowing vuvuzelas and doing the Diski Dance. In which case I’m already infected and about to die and go to heaven. Boo-hoo.
But, of course, I have digressed. Where was I? Oh, yes, I was about to lift you out of your British tabloid-blighted lives and put an “SA-positive” smile on your dial.
No problemo, babies. Fix yourselves a drink to suit the time of day (it may just be your personal time for Happy Hour?), flop back into your Laziman recliner, light something (I’m not encouraging you to break any laws, OK?) and try not to touch yourself while you watch this beautiful scenario unfold… (I suggest you click on “Full Screen” at top right to soak it all up in full Sensaround)
Wow. How was that for you. You feel like lighting up now, don’t you? Because the earth moved for you didn’t it? That’s cool. I felt like that too.
This 360 degree virtual tour malarkey was produced by John Gore and his very clever camera which is certainly a step up from the Kodak Instamatic I point at cute kids and puppies. Lekker, hey? And that was just Cape Town Stadium which, as my Cape Town readers are fond of pointing out, I didn’t like nearly as much as the stunning Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durbs or Soccer City in Jozi.
Never mind. No city can have the world’s most photographed mountain AND the best stadium. And, as soon as my mate John has got his 360 degree angles working around Moses Mabhida and Soccer City, I’ll take you on a tour of those too.
Because, as I keep saying, I only exist to give you good reason to want to keep on living in the most sublime country in the world. The one that is about to stage the most beautiful World Cup the planet has ever seen. In roughly 192 hours from now. Ye Gods, I’m spilling out of my skin here at that thought!
After watching this video featuring “The Ten Best Goal Celebrations of the 2002 World Cup”, I was struck between the eyes by two massive thunderbolts.
Thunderbolt One: Only the celebrations by the Nigerian and Senegalese goalscorers did justice to the goals scored. The pathetic gestures by the European players were, well, very European (read restrained). I think that might be because, in northern Europe anyway, one is required to be very drunk before celebrations are, by law, allowed to be unrestrained. And playing while drunk in World Cup matches doesn’t appear to be universally condoned. Shame.
Thunderbolt Two: African footballers – and, ye gods, their fans – need little excuse, and certainly no alcohol, to erupt in wild and totally unrestrained celebrations. A goal is all that is required to spark off a field-wide party vibe guaranteed to leave their Euro counterparts gobsmacked and the referee battling an intense panic attack.
You may remember Roger Milla of Cameroon selecting the best-looking corner flag with which to have public sex after he scored a cracker at the 1990 World Cup. The world gawped at his on-field tryst with a wooden pole and it inspired African footballers to devise all manner of unique and innovative celebrations.
Roger Milla gets jiggy with a corner flag after scoring a goal at the World Cup 1990
Nice, Now watch how Julius Aghahowa of Nigeria, after witnessing two very sad attempts by an Irishman and a German to execute a decent flick-flack, took it all to another level completely after scoring against Sweden. His celebration, in my book, appeared to include a quadruple somersault, a triple flick-flack and a cartwheel, mercurially topped off with a double pike. Too beautiful. I’m sure the United States Olympic Diving Association tried to create an American grandmother and passport for him after seeing that.
Anyway, after you’ve done the usual “pause-while-the-vid-buffers-to-allow-uninterrupted-viewing” manoeuvre, sit back and be mesmerised by how Aghahowa and Bouba Diop show the Europeans how proper celebrations should come across…
How cool was that, hey? I know. I am hoping that there will be a bagful of goals scored by the African teams in this World Cup, if only so we can soak up the 11-man after-party.
I trust that South Africa coach Carlos Parreira is giving the Bafana Bafana boys lots of time off to practise their Diski Dance. You never know. South Africa might even score a goal in this World Cup (pardon the sarcasm) and then we’ll see how well our guys have been paying attention to those hip-swerving fans in the Vodacom ads.
You lost me for a moment there. I was dreaming of our centre-back baldy Matthew Booth rising majestically to head home a cross against Mexico… and then settling with the rest of the team into a humungous hip-sway in the middle of the illuminated calabash we call Soccer City.