Saturday, March 21, 2009

Columnist Foresees World Cup as Low Point for Democratic South Africa

At a recent dinner party in the U.S., conversation came around to the 2010 World Cup. As Mail and Guardian columnist Llewellyn Kriel writes, the general prediction of the Cup's effect on the country were not very good.

And, of course, the trillion-rand question: What’s going to happen when the world arrives on SA’s doorstep for the World Cup next year?

We all know there are no simple answers to any of these questions. There’s no point whatsoever in calling their validity into question — they are the prevailing, ubiquitous and very, very real perceptions that exist outside of the isolation wards in which our authorities cocoon themselves. The questions, comments and criticisms carry no malice. Only astonishment. Astonishment at how out of touch our leaders are, how determinedly arrogant, how doggedly ignorant the masses, how we insist on trying to drive forward with glazed eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror, how morally, ethically, socially, economically and politically corrupt we are.


The consensus view by midnight was that it’s “such a pity” — so much promise squandered, so many possibilities dead or terminally ill. And that the World Cup will indeed happen, but it will be a mere wispy disappointing shadow of the success it could have been, that we lack the capacity to protect our visitors, or organise “cracker events” or even muster a plausible national team.

Then came the bombshell observation — that rather than being the zenith of our 16 years of “democracy”, the World Cup will be its nadir, a developmental dip so frightening that it will galvanise us to get serious about progress.

The 2010 World Cup — nadir rather than zenith for SA
Mail & Guardian
February 2, 2009