The FIFA World Cup draw – a warning

Let the moaning begin. Eh?
But yes, because Cape Town is going to be hosting the World Cup 2010 draw on Friday 4th December and there’s going to be a party. And they’re going to shut a few roads to make sure that the partygoers don’t get flattened by… you know… cars and stuff.

There’s a full and comprehensive list of road closures, including times here and there are sure to be some people moaning about the traffic despite the fact that they’ve had adequate warning via the radio, newspapers and internet. And despite the fact that these roads are regularly closed when there are large conferences at the CTICC. And despite the fact that no-one in their right mind would try to drive up Long Street on a Friday afternoon or evening.
Some people are just like that.

The traffic is just the tip of the iceberg though. Some people are still in denial about the whole World Cup thing and they’re going to go out of their way (with the help of the sensationalist SA media and the Daily Mail) to publicise every little bit of negativity that they can possibly find in glaringly bright lights. And with an estimated 700 million viewers fixing their eyes on Cape Town next week, they’ve got their first little platform ready and waiting.

This should be a celebration – and it will be. The World Cup will bring jobs, people, infrastructure and money into South Africa. But possibly worth more than all those put together, it will bring publicity. And publicity can swing either way.
It’s like that, is publicity, flip-flopping between sides like Allan Boesak.
There is, of course, that age old saying that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”, but that’s complete bullshit. Try telling that to Gary Glitter or… well… Allan Boesak.
While this is a huge opportunity for South Africa, it is sadly also a huge opportunity for those that seek to derail the good things that are happening in this country and the hope that goes with them. I’m talking about the racists, the ex-pats, the union leaders and those who put their own selfish agendas in front of the good of the country. They too will be watching the draw next Friday, but for different reasons to you and I. They will be looking to pounce on anything that is not 110% perfect; be it the traffic, the TV production, the pre-draw entertainment or the weather.
Whatever they can find to dampen the celebration, they will use.

It’s sad that I feel this way, but I think that it is important that someone gets this message out there before the mis- and dis-information spreads its way out across the media. Simply put, you can fully expect the usual situation of the media over-reporting the negative aspects of life in South Africa to be concentrated while the World Cup is on. (And that includes the World Cup draw). Every incident of pickpocketing, poor organisation, drunken fist-fighting, overfilled buses or littering (ok, maybe not littering) will be documented and analysed in minute detail under evocative and exceptionalist headlines. Believe it, because it’s true.

Whatever happens, it is vitally important for South Africa that the optimism and the positive vibe that surrounds the World Cup is not drowned out by the small but vociferous minorities that want to drag this country down. So go and enjoy yourselves, have fun. And take photos and blog it, because that’s exactly what they’ll be doing for the other side.

As for me, I’m planning to leave my comfort zone of Southern Suburbia and take my Dad into town to join the chaos party on Long Street.
Can I, as they say, get a woop woop?!? (Oh, and England picked as team C1? Thanks.)

P.S. I just updated this with some amazing video. Go see.