My analysis is…

The football fever emanating from South Africa is so insanely strong I can feel it in waves all the way over here. I can hear the vuvuzelas too!

I may be the only Saffa I know around here other than the BFG, but I can barely contain my happiness and excitement. I haven’t been sleeping too well these past few days. I know I’m not there, probably don’t even count as a real Saffa any more, but my flag is in the window and my heart is bursting with pride.

I have read plenty of international and national blog posts and news articles analysing the World Cup in terms of what it will do for South Africa, both good and bad, ie. uniting a racially divided nation (“white fans supporting black team!” was one such silly title), diverting money from better causes such as AIDS drugs, infrastructure, housing, enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor, and countless variations of these.

I know journalists make their money from “analysis” but I think any analysis at this time sounds tired and cliched.

This is a feeling, pure and powerful. This is a time for fun, and yes, even South Africa with its ten million problems has good stuff, lots of good stuff worth celebrating. Saffas have the right to celebrate too.

This is beyond cultural and social analysis, and it is beyond soccer. This is just about people, South African people, having a good time and showing off to the world.

There is nothing to analyse. It is pure joy.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tiah
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 08:56:45



  2. Helen
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 09:26:03

    I like your ‘analysis’ better than most of the ones we’ve been getting here! And just because you can’t be here doesn’t mean you aren’t still one of us! Think of it as extending the joy for us, which is a totally important job!


  3. Kirsty
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 10:35:51

    So true! All the little 30 second news reports just can’t contain the happiness and excitement that is spilling out of South Africa into the world! This is (and I say this without bias) the most special World Cup I’ve ever experienced… there is a feeling of togetherness that is blowing me away, even this far away. I also wish I was there more than anything!


  4. Tamara
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:04:05

    You said it, Po. There’s always someone who will try to spoil the moment, but here in SA, I reckon most people are feeling the football fever.


  5. Shannon
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 16:33:37

    Agreed, Po. Americans get criticized all the time for being patriotic with people trotting out reasons ranging from slavery to Iraq for why we shouldn’t be. But loving one’s country doesn’t mean blindly agreeing with every policy or not seeing its problems. I think of patriotism as the triumph of hope over cynicism. Yes, we do a lot wrong, but we also do a lot right; and our enthusiasm says “We are bigger than our problems, our strengths and potential are greater than our weaknesses, and we’re in this thing together.” People from the outside see our flaws, but we know how great our virtues are. I suspect Saffas (and people of all other countries) are the same, and deserve to take pride in being who they are.


  6. Shannon
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 16:36:56

    And by the way, happy Flag Day. You thought I was joking about American patriotism, didn’t you? We have a holiday just for our flag. (Well, not a real holiday, you don’t get off work or anything and the banks and post office are open, but it’s on the calendar as a real thing.)


  7. Po
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 23:05:18

    Here in the Uk there is a certain class of people who show patriotism with the flags and the face paint, and the rest of England look down on them, and call them wankers.

    Erm, give me the South African and American way any day. I think in SA you will probably be called a wanker if you don’t have a flag.

    Maybe it is because SA is a new country that we feel no shame displaying patriotism? Don’t know about the US though, you have always been that way ;)


  8. Laura
    Jun 15, 2010 @ 11:23:35

    “I know journalists make their money from “analysis” but I think any analysis at this time sounds tired and cliched.”

    I totally agree! Every time I read one of these world cup analysis pieces I think “nope, you’ve missed it! Just wave your flag and join in the fun!”

    … and I also couldn’t sleep I was so excited one night! Craziness!

    *when I get older I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom, just like a waving flag*


  9. Shannon
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 00:36:16

    I find it interesting how South Africans date the country. Some think of it as dating to 1994, but I guess officially the Republic of South Africa just turned 100, right?

    I don’t know if this accounts for the patriotism, but SA and America are, I think, nation-as-idea: this ideal of a multicultural democracy, “all men created equal,” “belongs to all who live in it,” etc. Other nations may hold those same ideals, but they are not, themselves, actually a model of nation as experiment. The US and SA exist as ideas, as aspirations, as much as they do as nations. And we are proud of that idea even when there is a gap between the idea and the reality. So I think it allows us to say “yes, we totally fucked that one up” and yet still wave our flags and feel secretly (or not-so-secretly) glad that we are part of this grand experiment.


  10. Po
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 08:50:41

    I guess I think of South Africa starting again witht he elections in 94 because before only white people could vote, so as a fully democratic country we were only born in 1994, that’s a short time to be a country.

    I totally agree with you in terms of the grand experiment and the difference between the idea and the reality! I’m not sure we could compare the US and SA in many other instances but maybe we can on this one :)


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