The mood is sombre. People are battling to make ends meet, load shedding has once again reared its head and tensions – both politically and racially – are at a boiling point.
The memories from the 2010 Fifa World Cup – on African soil for the first time – are something I still hold dear to this day.
For a few weeks in June and July nine years ago, SA came together. The problems facing each one of us daily were put on hold as we opened our arms and welcomed the world to our backyard.
A walk through the streets showed people pulling in the same direction, celebrating South Africa’s rare chance to shine at hosting a tournament of this stature.
It was a time when people put their differences aside as we embraced the spirit of the beautiful game. Cars’ side mirrors were decorated with the flags of competing nations, stadiums were packed with supporters wanting to catch a glimpse of their superstars and blaring vuvuzelas took centre stage.
South Africa was alive and well.
Although Bafana Bafana failed to make it past the first stage of the World Cup, we put on a good show and the 2010 World Cup was, by and large, a successful event.
Sadly, that feeling of unity … patriotism has gone missing.
Nowadays, the mood is sombre. People are battling to make ends meet, load shedding has once again reared its head and tensions – both politically and racially – are at a boiling point.
Don’t pull off from a traffic light the moment it turns green and you are sure to receive aggressive hooting from the driver behind you, followed by angry gestures.
If the driver in front of you doesn’t pull off in time, you’ll probably be the one hooting, and sharing a few choice words. It’s just another day in South Africa, I suppose…
Earlier this month, while in Taiwan as a guest to celebrate their Double Ten Day – their national day – I experienced a feeling of unity … patriotism. During a parade in front of the presidential palace, thousands of people took part in the celebrations.
The love and care for each other was certainly evident. You felt the pride – a feeling I’m sure is not only restricted to Taiwan.
We need to find a way back to those moments. If Taiwan can, in spite of all the political minefields it negotiates internationally, why can’t we?
A Springbok World Cup title triumph in Japan over the next few weeks could bring us together. But why do we have to wait for a sporting moment to unite us?
We just need to find a way to get on … move forward?
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