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…
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.