I didn’t think I would write this. I didn’t think I could write it.
I was thinking it might be more dignified and honourable if I continued to just think quietly about you, how you might be feeling (or not feeling), after I woke in the morning.
I thought I would remain quiet while I watch the TV pictures showing all the messages and balloons of love going up outside the hospital inside which you slip away, unseen, unheard but still holding us.
I thought, as I ate my Weetbix and Passion Orange yoghurt and heard the clock tick and watched the birds flit about on a golden Overberg winter’s day, about the chilling winter of your last days and how seasons come to an end. How South Africa will go into spring without you… and how our flowers will grow and blossom anyhow. Perhaps not as brightly.
I like what these guys are doing with leadsa.co.za. I like it a lot. It’s the right message. At just the right time. Stand up for South Africa. And stand up for yourself. Stop sitting on your hands. And stand up. And be counted.
Take a look…
Be “SA-positive”. Amen.
* If you look up to your right on this page, you’ll see a big fat badge saying something about the 2010 South African Blog Awards. I’ve entered your “diagnosed SA-positive” blog into three categories: Best New Blog, Best Personal Blog and The Kulula Best Travel Blog. I wouldn’t be at all offended if you clicked on that there badge and nominated http://www.fredhatman.co.za in the category you think best fits this blog. In fact, were I to amaze all of us by winning something, the Birkenhead is on me down the Stanford Arms! Cheers!
I’ve been thinking about developing a personality. No, not mine. I gave up on that some time ago. Earthworms have got the jump on me. Not my fault I like to wear an anorak, write down the engine numbers of passing trains, have a massive collection of pet rocks and have taped every episode of Noot vir Noot on VHS.
No, I’ve been thinking of developing a character, like sex symbol blogger Seth Rotherham has done so cleverly with TBG (Tall Blonde Guy) over at 2oceansvibe.com. And very charmingly too, if I may say so.
I did have one. A character. A strange, eccentric, reclusive one called The Bushguy. But then I left Umdloti to go on a unicycle marathon, found Stanford and lost him. Not difficult. Last I heard, Bushguy was still living in the thick coastal bush above Umdloti Beach with his dogs and existing on mushrooms.
So what to do. Where to find A Character? As always, one doesn’t have to go far. He’s been on my doorstep. No, not at Hatman Mansions. But on the doorstep of my conscious. And characters don’t come any bigger, colourful, tougher, crazier, more beautiful than “The G-man”.
Are you feeling strong today? Are you up for this? Sure? OK. Let’s take a look at him…
No sooner had he been introduced to Miss South Africa and The G-man takes a call from a fan
OK. Now I can’t speak for you but if I had just been introduced to Miss South Africa Nicole Flint, I wouldn’t take a call from anybody, not Nelson Mandela or even my close friend Gen Morton. Even if I had just bought one of those phenomenal new iPhones that look like a crayfish.
But this is how he rolls, The G-man. The man for every situation. So cool you need to wield an icepick to get near him. A man you’d want alongside you in the trenches in a particularly brutal and unconventionally-fought war.
The G-man is an ADD-addled action hero. He’s seriously feral. A natural-born actor. He’s South Africa’s Bruce Willis, Woody Harrelson and, er, Lou Reed all rolled into one unpredictable, fearless and insanely cool package. And you don’t have to take my word for it.
He lives noisily in a quiet village north of Durban. You might see him barking like a dog at the La Mercy Lagoon. He can convincingly imitate 36 animal sounds. I know. I heard them all during this madcap adventure.
I could go on. But I’ve used up all of my G-man force for the day. So this what I’ll do. Send me a photo of you with The G-man and, every Friday, I’ll choose the craziest one. The winner will receive one of those brand-new, totally insane Special Edition Crayfish iPhones. Yes, just like the one The G-man is using in that pic!
How cool is that? Yes, yes, I know. Please try to remain calm. OK. Here’s a tip on how to find The G-man. He really digs the coffee that Judd “Juddy-poo” Campbell purveys at the absurdly groovy Corner Cafe in Glenwood, Durban. You’ll find him there most days, high on caffeine and getting up to mischief.
Brace yourself, introduce yourself, get in a picture with our boy and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If it’s the nuttiest one of the week, you win a Crayfish iPhone and I publish the pic on here. Well. Why are you still sitting there, staring at this word. Vamoose, babies!
I don’t know about you but I’ve been flattened since our glorious World Cup came to an earth-shakingly climactic end on Sunday night. Pap. It feels like somebody I really loved has died. No exaggeration. I haven’t blogged in two days. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to write.
I’m messed up. I’m in mooch mode. I’ve thought about picking up on “Isidingo”. Picking up Leeanda Reddy. Melancholic. I catch myself staring into the fire and seeing Asamoah Gyan hitting the bar with that penalty miss against Uruguay. I’m off my food. My hair needs washing. No shampoo. No sham, it’s just poo. It’s like Gen Morton called and said she doesn’t want to see me again. Again.
I don’t really know what to do. Macrame? The washing-up? Steal some kid’s Panini World Cup sticker book and try to finish it? And then give it back to him? Or sell it to buy new clothes so that I don’t have to do last week’s laundry? I do know that I need to let go of World Cup 2010. I do. You too? Perhaps this will help…
Did you pick up all the little gems in that? The beautiful words and unmistakeable voice of The Arch effusing in his inimitable way at the opening ceremony? “This is like a dream… I must be dreaming!” Yes, Arch, it was like a dream… a dream come true. And we don’t want to wake up!
And there were a lot of vuvuzelas in tthat vid, right? Vuvuzelas, kuduzelas, favelazelas, madikazelas, madethismyselfazelas. The horniest World Cup of all time, Hatpeople. A month of sex in B-flat. No wonder we’re pap. You might even have seen yourself in there. Did you catch the beautifully loony London Mayor Boris Johnson putting out his best parp at around 4:15″? Best you have another look and listen, hey?
I have nothing else to say except to thank Peter Greenwall for creating this authentic slice of his World Cup experience and sending it my way. So I didn’t have to think of anything to write. Cheers, mate. OK, I’m off to make a fire. The Scrapster and Dodney Doodlebug are shivering on the mat. And I’m shaking. Cold turkey.
Oh, and one more thing… do that 67-minute thing for Madiba and your phenomenal country on Sunday, OK? I’m going to help some guys get a vegetable garden going on a vacant plot in the middle of Stanford so that the poorer souls can be fed some nutritious food. Go on, do your bit. Get yourself tested “SA-positive”!
I woke up this morning to the biting cold of a Stanford winter’s day. Alone. And suffering a deep depression.
I needed help. Group therapy sounded good. And I got it. From the vastly swollen ranks of the “SA-positive” people out there who are as hungover as me. On this day after the drunken month before.
So, how to describe how I feel? I can’t. I’m leaving it to you. These are the pick-me-up messages which came my way on facebook and Twitter today… I’ll throw in some pretty pictures just to – how do newspaper journalists say? – “break up the copy”…
Bravo Espana, bravo. the Grand Parade fanfest, filled to capacity with 25000 people was a SA experience i will NEVER forget as long as I live. People crying together, dancing, hugging, never before seen such unity amongst strangers and classes, creeds, colours and ages.
Trust a Ghanaian fan to succeed where Paris Hilton failed. Nobody bothered this bloke when he brought his pot into the stadium.
Dear SAFA – time to put your money where our youth developmental programme should be. How about PSL season to start with a youth league?
We did it South Africa. Thank you world for sharing our beautiful country.
Well done. Somehow, we must all soldier on. And we got our taste of rugby last night with the Dutch team. Sjoe!
The Netherlands' Nigel de Jong, who was later sent off, impresses upon Xabi Alonso of Spain that he didn't miss a single Bruce Lee movie as a kid
SA so in love with the vuvuzela that we name a newly discovered flower after it… iafrica.com
Spain has won the #worldcup of Football, but SA has won the World Cup of nation-building, social cohesion, national unity, pride & branding!
There’s always the Tri-Nations and Currie Cup to tide us over till the Premiership starts…
The football fans are taking lots of Vuvuzelas home #ORTambo #Joburg
Sorry, I'm not sure how this slipped in. The iPhone, I mean.
South Africa: On top of the world. Photo gallery… Times Live
South Africa proved it – the potential is high and the spirit of the people is strong. A metaphor for all of Africa?
South Africa #WorldCup stats ~ Attendance 3,178,856 (49,670 per match) Goals scored 145 ~ Wikipedia
Well done Spain – the best-looking team won the tournament. Well done South Africa – the best hosts won over the world.
The Spanish team seem quite happy to get their hands on the World Cup trophy... after some nutter had earlier run on the field to try to nick it. A Fifa heavy took him out with an almighty forearm smash to save the day. And he wasn't even Dutch.
I’m going to miss buying beers in the street and posing for photo’s with the police in front of Caspirs. Thank you South Africa, as if I needed a reason to love you more.
If the ref had picked up the foul on Robben, I think we’d have a different World Cup winner today! Well done to Spain, though, and to everyone involved in making the World Cup such a great success. I think we can all be extremely proud of the way South Africa rose to the challenge and made those doubting thomases, myself included, eat humble pie! Thanks for a fantastic tournament!!
Just watched all the morning news shows say good bye to the WC. I shed a tear.
The ever-popular Diego Forlan didn't shed a tear when Uruguay didn't make the final. He got so pissed off that he came along anyway, bringing a World Cup trophy his mum made for him back in Montevideo.
M sure s0uth africa are the best h0sts eva yho! even when 0ur teamz wer d0wn nd 0ut ppl still went 2 the stadiumz i salute u SOUTH AFRICA!
Well done, my country! We hosted the biggest sporting event in the world and EVERYBODY thinks it has been the best so far! I can’t wait for the next challenge cos we proved to ourselves that Yes, We Can!
Wow, South Africa, aren’t you proud ? Gosh that was beautiful, I must say, new South African history is written, forget june 16, together we wrote june 11 and it left a smile on all our faces, long live south africa!
Not trusting Eskom, quite a few fans brought their torches along for the closing ceremony at Soccer City last night.
There cannot be a single aficionado (not even in the Netherlands) who will dispute the cosmic justness of Spain’s win. They were better on the day, and they have been better than any team in the world for the last year or two. More than that, they play irrefutable football, football that fathers can watch with their children, football that is cerebral, clean-limbed, dignified, balletic, and immensely loveable—that last because they are not a team of physical giants, but are instead (for the most part) dapper men of modest proportions who wouldn’t draw a second glance if they were alongside one in the subway.”
And this from a Spanish guy… SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!! A BIG CONGRATULATION TO THE BEST HOST NATION IN HISTORY!!!!! YOU DID AN EXCELLENT JOB AND BRING THE WORLD TOGETHER!!!!! THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE THE WORLD AND YOU DID IT !!!!! AWESOME JOB!!!!!! NOW THE OLYMPICS IS GOING TO 2020!!! AWESOME WC2010!
I think Miguel enjoyed himself. And didn’t we all? Never again will those foreign predictors of doom – and our own naysayers – disrespect us. Yes, we are South AfriCAN.
We hoped he would turn up for one last hurrah. And, as always, Mr Mandela didn't let us down. Madiba, have we told you recently how much we love you?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to bed. I’ve got to try to shift this hangover…
Note to neighbour: Would you mind terribly, old chap, not blowing the old vuvu just for the rest of today? Ta.
Football has been my life. Through my ADD-addled school years, my advent into journalism through the Durban Daily News sports department, my London life (1984-1997, RIP) and the ensuing topsy-turvy years, of marriage, divorce and loss, soccer has been the one constant. That and my addiction to Five Roses tea.
For as long as I can remember, I have slept, eaten and breathed soccer. I should have married it. I was quite handy at it, too, benefiting from being the only kid with a good enough left peg to raise an eyebrow on our phlegmatic Sports Master, old Jim Wright. So I got stuck out on the left wing, pumped crosses over to the 4ft 5″ centre-forward in our Pietermaritzburg Pirates under-14A team and slipped effortlessly into the role of deadball specialist.
I got the job of taking free-kicks, corners and penalties because, from the time I was two bricks and a tickey high, I practised with a tennis ball against the garden wall for every daylight hour God sent me that I didn’t have to be bored witless by some teacher with cornflakes in his beard droning on about Pythagoras’s Theorem, porto, portamus, portat and the dates and locations of Anglo-Boer War contretemps.
Then there was post-school practice sessions with Pelham Primary under-10 A, “pick-from-whoever-turned-up” games at the sports field at the end of Kinnoull Road using bricks and somebody’s little sister as the goalposts and highly competitive one-on-one games with neighbour Georges du Tertre in my backyard.
When the other boys in the neighbourhood were doing homework or otherwise inexplicably detained, I would go solo, holding mock FA Cup competitions, comprising 164 English clubs and held over several afternoons until I contrived to advance two teams, providing my own commentary as I played against myself, through to the final, usually Liverpool vs Manchester United. Liverpool FC, the club with which I have been obsessed since I was seven, always won.
Liverpool's Kevin Keegan, pretending to be me, rises fairly majestically to head the ball, watched by Terry McDermott Pic: Daily Mail
And my script required that Kevin Keegan would somehow levitate majestically above Martin Buchan to nod a Steve Heighway cross past a flailing Alex Stepney. Pretending, of course, that I was KK (well, I was), I would celebrate my winner for the Mighty Reds by hurtling through my mum’s rockery of cactuses (ow!) and other succulents, arms raised aloft, and slide across the lawn on my knees while making enough noise to mimic the roar of 30,000 crazed Scousers.
But let’s fast-forward, shall we, to yesterday afternoon. Ah, yesterday afternoon. A gloriously warm winter’s day in my newly-adopted village of Stanford, quaintly concealed in the Overberg mountains of the Western Cape. I walked a friend’s daughters Ruby (9) and Sarah (8), around to their friends to collect takkies (tennis shoes) and then, with Indica, Tayana and Dylan in tow, did my Pied Piper impression while marching them up the hill to the rugby field.
But there was no rugby to be watched. This, as is the case every Sunday, was “Soccer Day”. And once organiser Jan Troost had appointed two captains, teams were selected in the time-honoured method, the skippers taking turns to pick the best players available. I, roughly 86 years older than everybody else – and ostensibly there to watch, shout encouragement and provide some tactical tips, was shocked to be the first to be called out.
Ah, but my captain had a cunning plan. Stick the big, balding ballie (old guy) in goal and he’d fill up most of it, denying the opposition the opportunity to score. This worked a treat. Until I had a rush of blood to the head, regressed to 1977 and thinking I was Kevin Keegan and, abandoning my goal area, bulleted down the right in search of glory. It all came rushing back, my beer boep (paunch) jellying as I danced past the demonic tackles of 10-year-olds, ignored the cries of “Pass!” from my pre-pubescent team-mates, executed a Jonah Lomu run-over of a hapless defender in pink bowtied pigtails and unleashed a bazooka-like shot high into the top corner. “Goal!” “Laduuuuuma!”. Both teams stared at me in equal measures of disbelief and disgust and shrieked “You’re supposed to be the goalie!”
Ruby Walne (9) is about to boot the ball upfield while boys prostrate themselves before her in yesterday's game at Stanford's rugby field. This wouldn't have happened in my day!
I wisely chose not to re-enact my “sliding-knees-on-Wembley-turf” celebrations of my golden years, covered my face with my hands and loped ashamedly back to my goals. I had to resign myself to getting my bulbous bulk in the way of almost every shot nine-year-old Tayana Dorland, the opposition’s hotshot striker and a girl to boot, bulleted my way. To the point where the young prodigy strode up to me, slapped me on the boep and muttered: “I’m getting sick of you always getting in the way of my goals!”
It was so much fun. These kids, the beautiful and free-spirited children of Stanford, are infected with World Cup fever. And I, just an overgrown kid among them, am no different. Yes, I am literally spilling out of my skin for this, South Africa’s, World Cup. Yes, there will be challenges and there will be difficulties. But I believe that I speak for most South Africans when I say that I regard the 2010 World Cup as a humungous opportunity to show the world what we are truly made of. We are humbled by this gift. I have no doubt that we will give our planet the friendliest, happiest, most human-spirited World Cup.
Back in the day when I was playing at being Kevin Keegan and Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on Robben island and our South Africa was horribly skewed in hatred and pain, I never believed that the younger generation of British footballers I so adored would play on the same soil as our national team.
But it is here. It is real. And it is ours. Let us dedicate it to our children who tonight will dream of rising effortlessly above John Terry to nod the ball past David James for Bafana Bafana’s winner in the World Cup final. I did say “dream”!
I am fed up to the back teeth with the “SA-negatives”, both South African and foreign, who seem to be willing our soon-to-be-phenomenal World Cup – and our beloved nation – to fail.
Did they even bother to witness the scenes of beautiful “ubuntu” which played out between the predominantly white Bulls and Stormers supporters and the almost entirely black locals of Soweto when the two South African rugby franchises contested the Super 14 final at the Orlando Stadium in the famous township on Saturday?
The genius who first suggested that the Bulls’ Super 14 semi-final and then the final of the southern hemisphere’s rugby tournament be played in the heart of overwhelmingly soccer-mad Soweto should be awarded the Order of the Totally Like Solid Gold Makarapa by President Jacob Zuma. And two VIP tickets so he can wear it to the World Cup final. His was the biggest chuffing brainwave since Einstein invented that E equals whatever formula thing it was that the old mad-haired fogey came up with.
The rugby-in-Soweto bright spark’s suggestion led to, on the eve of the most human-spirited World Cup this planet will ever witness, the most beautiful nation-building exercise our beloved country has seen since Madiba wore Francois Pienaar’s jersey and lifted the rugby World Cup trophy at Ellis Park 15 years ago.
In celebration of these momentous events, Mark Berger, who goes around showing people how to shift from convincing themselves the world will end tomorrow to believing they too can make it a far better place in which to live, has sent me a very soul-stirring and heartwarming article… which follows this introduction.
Read… and be inspired. If you’re not inspired, then bugger off to Perth (if you’re not already there and boring everybody to death with your tales of doom)… I’ve personally had quite enough of you lot. Bloody agents!
The Story of the Pessimist, the Optimist and the Realist.
Did you hear the one about the optimist who accidentally fell from the roof of a 100-storey building? Someone down on the 50th floor saw him falling past an open window saying: “So Far So Good!”
On Saturday I witnessed an historic event – two South African rugby teams playing in a Super 14 final at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. It was amazing to see the stadium full of cheering rugby fans, the cacophony of droning vuvuzelas, the colourful makarapas and President Zuma pitching up to greet the players before kick-off. For an optimist like me, this was a significant event, one which brought back powerful emotional memories of Rugby World Cup 1995. (Although back then my team won the game…)
A Bulls rugby fan attempts an opskop during a township gumboot dancing competition with a traditional dancer outside Orlando Stadium on Saturday. Mooi, man! Pic: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Of course the pessimists will say it was a non-event, a sham, nothing more than a shortlived publicity stunt for political gain. The realists will say it was only a rugby game; South Africa has much more pressing (and depressing) issues to overcome.
Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you are right.” I think the same applies to belief in the future success of our country – if you think we can or you think we can’t – you are right! It depends upon whether you are a pessimist, optimist or realist.
Right now, the pessimists are having a field day regarding South Africa. Like Karoo sheep they will bleat about Crime, Corruption, Malema, Zuma, The Erosion of Land Rights, Senseless Farm Murders, the Crumbling Justice System, Poor Service Delivery, Nationalisation of Mines, Unemployment and Cadre Deployment et al.
And they are absolutely RIGHT! Every one of these issues is evidence of their being right. We face massive challenges, challenges which the pessimists believe we as a nation will not be able to overcome. They insist that our country, like the optimist who fell off the building, is falling rapidly towards a major disaster. In their opinion it’s only a matter of time before the mango really hits the fan. They repeatedly tell the optimists to get out of denial and start facing the grim reality of what, in their opinion, is the inevitable decline of another African economy. Just look at the evidence from up north they say, from Mad Bob to Gaddafi and in between, to see where we are going to end up.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins sings the national anthem stukkend while President zuma looks on the verge of a good blub over the nationbuilding significance of what's going down in Soweto on Saturday Pic: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images
The optimists, on the other hand, have to range far and wide (just like Karoo sheep) to find meagre pickings of hope. After some reflection they might mention our Rapidly Improving Infrastructure, Major Intersections Being Rebuilt, Awesome New Airports, The Gautrain, Bus Rapid Transit System, Tax Collection Efficiency, Our Stable Currency, Declining Inflation, Solid Banking System and Our Free Press. Not to mention that we are about to host the biggest sporting event in the world right now. They will ask if you have noticed the side mirror socks and SA flags on so many cars, showing a growing groundswell of support for Bafana Bafana to play their hearts out and make ALL OF US proud.
The optimists may also remind you to take a good look at the overall state of our economy today, compared to 1994, as evidence of how far we have come as a nation.
And THEY too, are absolutely RIGHT. Every one of these points is a real reason to believe, a reason to feel positive that we as a nation can survive, thrive and succeed. Each one of these are real achievements, concrete evidence that we can get things done and make significant progress, despite our many challenges.
And what of the realists? They will most likely take another perspective, a look at the bigger picture and ask three vital questions:
How is South Africa REALLY doing?
How is the REST OF THE WORLD doing in comparison?
What sort of shape is our whole PLANET in right now?
Some answers they may give us would be:
How are we really doing? Realistically, we are doing OK, with lots to be proud of and lots to be concerned about, in equal measure. It really comes down to a question of what you choose to focus on. More importantly, it comes down to what each of us is actually doing to make things better. Worrying achieves nothing; it simply creates stress, fear and negativity. Waiting for a political solution is a waste of valuable time. Taking action to make a difference breeds real change, positivity and optimism.
How is the rest of the world doing? Thailand just had 88 deaths due to political infighting in Bangkok.Europe is facing a major Euro currency crisis. Greece and Spain (and probably more to come) are in deep financial trouble. So deep that France is threatening to pull out of the Eurozone. Britain has lost faith in their politicians. Every sixth child in Germany is on welfare. Volcanic ash is causing regular mayhem over parts of Europe. A friend recently returned from a two-week driving holiday in Italy. He tells me that they have numerous, massive potholes which make ours seem tiny by comparison. The USA is facing its biggest oil spill disaster ever. They also found a large, (malfunctioning) car bomb in Times Square on May 1. And they still owe around US $400 trillion to somebody – the world’s largest budget deficit. Australia faces issues like refugee boats, teen pregnancy and major drug abuse among their youth. A recent survey found that the Aussie population feels that their government is interfering way too much in all aspects of their lives. Sounds familiar?
What about our planet? Right now, she is struggling with a net population growth of some 200 000 new humans per day – that’s an extra one million every five days. We are literally swarming like ants and the impact is showing. So we are seeing global warming, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and other planetary disruptions. Some even say that the melting ice caps could affect the delicate weight balance and cause our earth to shift on her axis – then we will see some major SHI(F)T happen – in our lifetime!
And as I write all of this, I can hear the pessimists bleating again: SO WHAT Mark, two wrongs don’t make a right, get with the programme, who cares about the rest of the world when our country is going to the dogs?
Rugby fans, who usually just sing "Ole, Ole" like they're at a bullfight or something give the old vuvuzelas, the noise-making instrument of choice for black soccer fans, a good paaaarp at the Super 14 final Pic: Lee Warren / Gallo Images
Listen ouens, I am only going to say this only once: The world is your oyster and you can choose to go and live anywhere you like. The choices are vast. The truth is that WHEREVER YOU GO, YOU TAKE YOURSELF WITH YOU! You will still wake up every day and have to look in the mirror at your optimistic, pessimistic or realistic face. And if you have reason to complain about SA, you will most likely find as many reasons to complain about your new country, your neighbours, politicians, the weather, rising prices, bureaucracy, traffic, systems, language and food. Granted you will probably feel safer and more secure regarding violent crime, but will you feel HAPPY? Happiness comes from within and everywhere you go you will still face challenges. Different challenges maybe, but no less difficult to overcome.
And what of feeling secure? Helen Keller said: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
I am somewhat concerned about the future of our planet. I do not always feel 100% safe in my country right now. But I am 100% happy and confident it will improve. My life has always been a daring adventure. And, most importantly, I am doing something positive to make a difference instead of sitting around waiting for the world to change. Every month, I work with hundreds of my countrymen to improve their attitudes, productivity, optimism, efficiency, profitability, motivation and team work. At the workplace, I see people of all colours, religions and creeds, male and female, old and young, integrating and working together to make things better. I see the shift happening amongst leaders, staff and their customers. On Saturday, in Soweto, I saw that shift begin to happen socially, outside the workplace, in the townships, which is where the real work still needs to be done. I saw the birth of hope.
On selected weekends, I assist groups of brave individuals to take a profound journey deep inside and discover what distorted beliefs are running their lives. I witness “strangers” sharing their true feelings with other “strangers” and thereby becoming friends. I see people dropping their masks and prejudices, being completely authentic with others and thereby undergoing profound transformation, like caterpillars becoming butterflies. I see hope being restored and deep human bonds being formed, regardless of race or age or religious belief. I see the light begin to shine from within, as we strip away the darkness of depression, fear, self loathing and negative conditioning. I see extreme pessimists make a complete pendulum swing through realism to optimism. It is the most rewarding work I have ever done in my life.
Some oke gives us horns to show that, in fact, Bulls fans have been wearing an Afrikaner variation of the makarapa for some time now Pic: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images
All of the above gives me joy and makes my life meaningful. It gives me reason to believe, because I SEE IT HAPPEN. I do not read the newspapers, because they mostly tell me what is going wrong. I remain focused on what is REALLY GOING ON, and find that there is much to be optimistic about. I realise that it is up to each individual to first change themselves and then help others do the same, if we are to have a safer, kinder, more conscious and compassionate world.
Woodrow Wilson said: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
Our own Johnny Clegg sang: “It’s a CRUEL, CRAZY, BEAUTIFUL world.”
I believe the world appears to be Cruel to the Pessimists, Crazy to the Realists and Beautiful to the Optimists.
Which one are you?
* Mark Berger is the CEO of Mark Berger Training, a Cape Town based organisation specialising in Unlocking Human Potential. He has been a professional speaker since 1996 and is currently president of the Cape Town Chapter of the Professional Speakers Association of SA. He has become well known for his uniquely pro-South African newsletters and a blog which mysteriously manages to travel electronically all over the known world. To read some examples of these newsletters visit his website.
Football didn’t originate on Robben Island but the playing of the game on the island by apartheid’s political prisoners can be said to have led to South Africa’s hosting of the global footballing showpiece in just 408 hours’ time.
So President Jacob Zuma was a tough-tackling and uncompromising central defender? I do like that!
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