Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Why do I feel like the only person NOT rejoicing over the imminent rape of the Beloved Country by FIFA? I turned the radio on this morning (something I always regret doing, since Durban doesn't get 702 or Radio UJ) and every second ad is "it's almost here!"; "party of the decade!"; "how awesome!" etc. The official line is, the 2010 World Cup will bolster South Africa's rep far and wide, boost our economy, expose SA's burgeoning creative talents to the world, and even resuscitate our national soccer team, who just happen to be the lowest ranked African team in this year's Cup.

Under the surface, of course, it's a different story. Local musicians are up in arms over the fact that despite the R170 Gazillion allocated to the cultural face of the World Cup, literally none of it is being spent on music. The opening ceremony ("it's almost here!!!") features paltry international acts like John Legend, Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas, and a sprinkling of SA's also-rans get to play from 2 till 4 with half the PA, or something demeaning like that. The legendary Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse is incensed that SA's music has been ignored and plans to hold a "Fuck You FIFA" event on the same evening.

And that's not all. Local artists of all mediums have been told they can expect to make a fortune selling their soccer-related artworks to the millions of glazed-eyed first-time-in-Afrika Europeans who are even now shipping vast quantities of Euro's in containers from the Continent in order to snap up authentic soapstone renderings of Nelson Mandela with a football on his head or Desmond Tutu in goal. Every relevant artwork gets an Official FIFA Stamp to prove its authenticity. Heck, every authentic South African (especially the dark ones) can apply for an Official FIFA-Approved Authentic South African Hologram Badge to place between his or her eyes for the weeks of the World Cup...

OK, I'm ranting. That's what blogs are for, right? The bottom line for cynical me is, the World Cup is a product, people are the consumers, and wherever there is a mass of excited people, there's money to be made. Sure, the 2010 World Cup will have a positive impact on many aspects of South African society, I'm not totally naive, but still, the World Cup is about FIFA, not about soccer. Even the players are mere pawns. Why should talented, beautiful South Africans (or even the ugly ones, for that matter... yes, Mike Sutcliffe and Julius Malema, that means you) be told they are worthy or unworthy of the world's attention  based on FIFA's recommendation? FIFA stands to make a shite-load of cash off SA, and what will we be left with? Innumerable white-elephant stadiums paid for by hard-pressed tax payers, social conditions as they were the day before the World Cup, land-fills full of spent vuvuzela's... a blighted landscape, people. Even as I write this, I'm being sued by FIFA for using the words "soccer", "World Cup" and "2010" in the same sentence. I'm not kidding.

1 comment:

  1. I am so not into this world cup saga. I think it's great that we get to enjoy all of the new buildings, freeways, roads etc that have come about because of Fifa but seriously. Last year no one would even think of owning a bafana banana t-shirt and now its the only colour I see... I feel bad but seriously. It's all twak and there has already been so much corruption in the awarding of contracts and tenders. Sies.