World Cup 2010 – Joburg wins

#207 Enjoy this moment – In true Jozi style flags fly proudly off electric fences, the sound of vuvuzelas (singly, that of a wounded bull elephant, in large groups – more like angry hornets) rings out wherever you are – from Melrose Arch to Braamfontein, Sandton to the Soweto no matter what time of day. Fashion trends hold no sway as most people are intent on showing their team colours. I have succumbed. This city is yellow and green, in love with this time, this place, and this nation.

Joburg is high on World Cup fever.

The train to Soccer City for the opening game of the FIFA World  Cup 2010
The train to Soccer City for the opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2010

In just over 48 hours I have notched up some Joburg firsts for myself — driven into Orlando East for the FIFA kickoff concert on Thursday night and walked the few blocks to the stadium feeling utterly envious of the people celebrating on Soweto’s streets; been charmed by Desmond Tutu who stole the show (looking a lot like a little buzzy bee in his stripey Bafana Bafana kit) on Thursday night with his impish wit and his comment about this nation having been turned from an ugly worm into a beautiful butterfly; danced to K’Naan who brought the house down singing hisĀ  World Cup anthem; fallen in love with the sound of the Blk Jcks; travelled to the show-stopping Soccer City stadium from Park Station and praised metrorail for getting us to the opening game on time; watched Siphiwe Tshabalala score South Africa’s first goal and Soccer City erupt with joy and noise and colour and celebration; seen mariachi bands, Mexican wrestlers, flocks of Argentinians andĀ  lots of very tall Nigerians (do they they come in a smaller size? or are those not for export?) on the city’s streets; smiled a lot, at everyone; and been wowed by the “spidey-cam” swinging over the opening ceremony and game to capture footage to send to the world and the jets and planes that flew over the opening game in true South-Africa style.

The view from the stadium
The view from the stadium

A few days a ago I stood on a street corner in the normally sedate and buttoned-up business district Sandton as the place went crazy with pride and a twenty-year-old standing next to me said: “OMG I have never seen anything like this.” I responded: “You obviously don’t remember 1994”.
And really that’s what this moment feels like – a victory. A triumph.

All unforgettable. All brilliant. A real privilege. All worth bottling and storing up.

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