South Africa changed last month. It had a different attitude, confidence, pride. People like me, who wouldn’t describe themselves as soccer mad, were carried along by a wave of enthusiasm, found ourselves shouting for the home side, then an African side, then our favourite side. And we reacted to the way the world saw us. Not as a crime-ridden, corrupt, third world country sinking into oblivion, but as a new emerging leader with great things in its future.
There was plenty of speculation that the World Cup in South Africa would be followed by a hangover of mammoth proportions. Not only would we be left with stadia all over the country which we wouldn’t use and couldn’t afford to maintain, but all the build up of tourist facilities would be left high and dry. Yes, tourists might come in the future, but that was for the future. The economy – for many years underpinned by infrastructure spend – would slump. Perhaps even worse, South Africans would revert to a mood of pessimism and wait for everything to fall apart. All the flags would come down.
|Nelson Mandela Stadium|
|Guess who holding guess what.|
We hosted the World Cup. It wasn’t just okay, it was great. There were hardly any hiccups. Everything was ready on time. The world was impressed. We are talking about the Olympics in the future. We can do this in the other areas that trouble us, too. We just have to have the confidence, commitment and enthusiasm to do it. LeadSA asks us to do this. It’s not necessarily to do something big, but it is necessary to do something. Watch things improve. Keep the pride of the World Cup achievement. Keep the flags flying. At first thought my reaction was lukewarm. This was just another of the endless team-building exercises. What can one really do? Then I thought that there are some things one can do, very small things but if 45 million people do a few very small things it will make a big impact. A few I can do. Make a point of taking a cloth bag to get groceries rather than lugging off more everlasting plastic ones, cut back on power usage until the infrastructure has caught up with the economy, be careful with water – plentiful this year but what about next? Take part in events like the Knysna Book Fair and Jozi Book Fair which are about literacy rather than selling books. Yes, all tiny, but all a small commitment to a positive outlook.
Michael - Thursday