Get me that Gautrain

#179. Celebrate the coming of the Gautrain.

The Gautrain at OR Tambo International Airport

On a good day – when the monsoon season is not in full swing, and it has been for three weeks – Joburg’s roads resemble the face of a pockmarked acne-ridden teenager. Crevices and dongas, all flaring and angry. The robots don’t work and if they do the roadworks mock them. I have spent the past few days in the car — not waving but drowning, not really driving but sitting. I have been gridlocked in Braamfontein and Rivonia, Bryanston and Rosebank. I have tried the radio and think I have started to master Sepedi – and listened to an audiobook in record time (an 8-hour one). I have made more calls to my mother than I ever should and been offered everything from cellphone chargers to peaches, badly-spelled werld maps to feather dusters. I have debated the merits of fong-kong school shoes with a street kid Continue reading

Bafana Bafana 0 – Joburg airport 2

#154. Go to the airport and collect someone. And it took more than an hour for them to make it from the plane to international arrivals this morning. No complaints here though as it gave me extra time to find OR Tambo International’s best kept secret – a brand new super-cool Woolworths store. (Score one goal for the brand) But not just any store — the kind of store that would have made the Tom Hanks character in Terminal, a happy man. Continue reading

I can hear those vuvuzelas now

#79. Count down to the Soccer World Cup in 2010. With only 498 days left until the Fifa Soccer World Cup, I amĀ  noticing signs of soccer life stirring. Months ago Fifa President Sepp Blatter visited and brought to everyone’s attention that there was little to suggest this country was close to putting on the greatest show on earth (or is that the Olympics?). I too was concerned but decided not to go to the press with it.

Germany apparently promoted their World Cup for a full three years which led me to wonder whether we are a nation with a short attention span or one that just likes to leave things to the last minute?

Mostly the signs of life are coming from sponsors and their ad agencies who are starting to promote what many hope will be South Africa’s greatest moment on the world stage since Nelson Mandela had his debut. Until now it’s been background stuff — just the occasional shudder in Rosebank as the Gautrain builders blast their way to Pretoria, Continue reading