I loved the world cup vibe. I even managed to attend a match at the Calabash and the atmosphere was electric! It was great to see South Africans jumping into the national pride pool head first and rallying behind a national sports team, the last time we did that – according to the movie Invictus - was during 1995 when we won the rugby world cup.
But as South Africa falls deeper into a depressive sulk after the festivities have drawn to a close, one wonders what long-term effects events of this scale have? Sadly the answer is not many. Although it must be stated that we now own a shiny new train, the rapid bus system seems to be working well and Durban now boasts a sea front, which rivals most of the world’s old favourites.
So apart from Fifa making a 2 billion rand profit and everyone’s holiday from the ‘real’ news in the world, I find myself asking what has changed for the better? The reality looks bleak.
With no more matches being played and most of the infrastructural changes completed, thousands of jobs have seized to exist as the last of the tourists begin to leave. The hundreds who were moved to places like Blikkiesdorp to hide our Gini coefficient are still without access to the most basic facilities and the sensational media count down to the end of the World Cup as the dates for the next lot of xenophobic attacks seemed almost ‘prophetic’.
It wasn’t as though the world cup made South Africans new people. It just made us put on our best face for the world. After all what else is the third world good for apart from jumping hoops for the first world?