I have become a soccer fan. Really. Having never watched a soccer game in my life before this Fifa 2010 World Cup, being held here in South Africa, I have been overwhelmed by it all and watched game after game. I even hit a luck and scored a ticket to soccer city n Soweto, which was just amazing. I was so buzzed up by the experience I could not sleep till after 4am.
And it is very emotional too. For years we were the pariahs. As much as I am white and therefore grew up pretty priviliged, we felt it. It was kak living here. Really. So much oppression. So much distrust. So much fear. Cloak and daggers and people dying horribly.
Now it is just too wonderful. We are united as a nation, everyone's friendly, whities even taking the train into soweto at night to watch a game and even though it won't last, well, it's a wonderful party with all these tourists in town and all having a wonderful time. I have met people from all over: Taiwan, UK, Cameroon...
Watched the opening game of South Africa's Bafana Bafana against Mexico at Six in Melville and cried when our team sang the national anthem and then when we scored a goal. I was so emotional, remembering how it used to be here under apartheid and experiencing how wonderful it is now.
Then when I watched the Bafana Bafana vs France game at Melrose Arch - where they have an extra-large screen in the piazza and between-games entertainment - with a predominantly South African crowd, I felt overwhelmed all over again. A group of white schoolboys next to me belted out Nkosi Sikileli as if their lives depended on it, and as we all jived to the sounds of Mandoza,there was a spirit of national pride like never before. (Listen to Nkosi Sikeleli and listen to Mandoza's hit Nkalakatha.)"Better than '94!" say people, referring to the date of our first democratic elections in South Africa.
And everyone has mirror "sokkies' on their cars' side mirrors, mostly depicting the SA flag, and flags on their cars... I have SA flag mirror sokkies, a SA flag on my car, an official Bafana Bafana t-shirt to wear to games, a Bafana Bafana arty t-shirt just to wear, a SA flag scarf, a SA flag beanie and a green tracktop with South Africa written on it. What a blast!!!