After months of negativity

As I sit here by the braai, with a locally-brewed wife and beer by my side, I am filled with hope, positivity and optimism about the future here in SA. And, for once, it seems I’m not the only one.

After a wholly-unsolicited ‘I’m going out of my way to tell your viewers this’ quote “Let me tell you, South Africa is going to be ready and it’s going to be a great World Cup” from a Daily Express football writer (recently returned from these parts) on Sky Sports yesterday, Piers Edwards of the BBC has come out with a brilliant blog telling the world the other side of all the negative BS and hightlighting the double standards of the international press:

When I asked the Australian delegation if they had any security concerns, they almost laughed in my face. Thankfully, they politely grinned instead while explaining how their sports stars have been coming here for years without any problems.
Indeed, their cricketers came over for last year’s IPL and Champions Trophy and there was great irony in both tournaments’ relocation to South Africa after security concerns in their original host nations – India and Pakistan (and wasn’t it strange how South Africa’s crime issues were ignored when the IPL changed venue?).

And it is, of course, the media that drives and fuels the negativity.
Why?  I’m not sure. Perhaps they’ve just lost the ability to actually write anything positive anymore. Maybe no-one would believe it.

While English-led questions about Bafokeng dominated Fifa’s news conference on Tuesday, it was interesting that not one Brazilian journalist, and there were a few there, asked about the five-time champions’ hotel – whose completion date is as late as England’s. In fact, the endless focus on Bafokeng drove Fifa’s urbane General Secretary spare.
“If the question is ‘could we host the World Cup tomorrow?’, the answer is ‘no’,” Jerome Valcke snapped. “Soccer City isn’t ready [and] we have 700,000 tickets still to sell, but we will be ready.”

Valcke is right. SA is not ready to host the World Cup. But that’s actually just fine, because the World Cup doesn’t start until June 11th and right now, we’re still in February. If the World Cup were to start tomorrow, we’d have failed. But it doesn’t, so we haven’t.
And positive quotes from big names like Marcello Lippi:

“I’m expecting a great tournament, in fantastic stadiums, with perfect security,” says Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning coach, who was here for last year’s Confederations Cup. “I’m not expecting anything negative.”

and Germany coach Joachim Low:

“I see the happiness in the locals’ eyes and their sense of excitement,” he said. “They can’t wait for the World Cup and South Africa will do everything for this World Cup – that’s what I am feeling.”

being reported are a welcome change from the usual doom and gloom that has surrounded the build up to this tournament.

But even as I read the comments below the post (and they’re worth a read), there were those in there who are still stubbornly waiting and hoping that South Africa will fail, still spreading their misinformation (CAPADONNA is a good case in point – WTF is he talking about??) and striving to pollute the excitement and belief around the World Cup. Piers has a message for them:

After 80 years of the World Cup, Africa – whether some Europeans like it or not – deserves its chance to host the finals: and had you decided against coming here because of the horror stories (rather than financial restrictions), when the media changes its tune from negativity to fawning praise as the World Cup begins, where would you rather be? 

I know my answer…

7 thoughts on “After months of negativity

  1. What a cracking positive blog post to make my Sunday night… It is such a pleasure to see South Africans seeing a positive take on things.

    Say what you like – South Africans and South Africa are downright awesome and we’ll keep reminding each and every person who has something negative to say that the country has achieved so much in such a short space of time.

    .-= Marc Ashton´s last blog ..Best SA bank for small business? Comment and win…. =-.

  2. What a great post! It made me smile on this chilly Aussie Monday morning!

    To be fair, CAPADONNA does have some fair points. In Cape Town, this past December, you could not hire a car in “last minute” style if your disorganised self relied on it. As this disorganised last-minute person found out. Actually, at some stage in Dec, you couldn’t hire a last minute car in the entire 2 Cape provinces, as a friend found out.

    But, to then counteract him & to echo you, this past December was not World Cup season. So hopefully there will be enough cars for people wanting cars in the Cape Provinces by June.

    Things are going to be different to Germany 2006 & people need to think differently to Germany 2006 & solve their challenges differently. Cause even visiting Germany has challenges for a tourist. They need to live life the way we live life in SA. Not how they live it in the UK or Germany or Japan. Its not about re-creating their worlds in SA & making sure London pubs with greasy pub meals are on every corner. Its about learning what an excellent thing a roadside boerie roll is, and what wonders a combination of bottle shop items & cooler box can lead to, and learning to drink Klippies en Coke rather than relying on keg pumps!
    .-= Champagne Heathen´s last blog ..Vindaloo Against Violence =-.

  3. Marc > To be fair, a lot of the negative sentiment over SA that I have found on the internet are from South Africans. That said, we certainly don’t need (or deserve) the onslaught from the British media as well.

    CH >Re Capadonna’s comment. (and maybe we will run out of hire cars) However:
    The Stadium IS close to motorway links.
    The BRT system was NOT abandoned last year and is looking awesome.
    Cape Town has v few restaurants and bars? WTF???
    The Fanzone is made of concrete. Better than grass in winter though, no?
    The stadium is miles away from wherre the black population live – so won’t make a good World Cup venue. Eh?
    Teams and fans will be flying in and out – but 85% of them will visit Cape Town during the tournament. And when one lot goes, another lot arrives – so where’s the issue with them not contributing to the economy?

    There was a traffic issue at the rugby game (not the football game that s/he is talking about), but that was mainly due to Murphy’s Law taking out the lights at Buitengracht and Western Boulevard – nowt to do with the stadium organisation. It took me 29 minutes from Stadium to home that day. 16.5kms.

    Sorry – I can’t find anything I agree with in that comment – it’s ill-informed nonsense.

  4. And BBC’s Panorama will be at it too tonight. Cape Town is apparently ruled by drugs gangs.

    (Can’t say I noticed any, but there again I can’t see a thing without my glasses.)

    That programme has as much gravitas as a red-top tabloid these days.

  5. GaiB > Well – bits of it are ruled by drugs gangs. Much like bits of Sheffield or London or Basingstoke
    I would avoid those bits. (And all of Basingstoke.)

  6. But he can’t be that ill-informed, as he speaks from the place of a British tourist who was in South Africa for a sporting event in December.

    His observations are going to be made by other Brit tourists as well. And, for me, that is where his comment has a base or fairness to it. It is not an angry over-the-top rant, from my perspective -its from a Brit tourist who likes his beers to be very very near at hand.

    But… as I was saying you were saying… some of those observations will be obsolete by the World Cup, as they’ll have been addressed by the time of the tournament, as has been planned. The BRT system being one, as you point out (I’d also like to say, I was told by many people that it had been abandoned when I got back to SA in Dec). Cabs being the only means for him to get around CT in December are not going to be the only means by the “clueless tourist” to get to stadiums in June/ July. There will be more local flights, as a Kulula email just promised.

    If he felt that there were few bars to drink at & “quick pub food”, you have to ask why. We know this isn’t true because you are a resident of CT and I was once a resident of CT. Why did he miss the places we know about? Lack of tourism brochures? Cab drivers who didn’t have a clue what he was asking for? Lack of info at the sporting venues he went to – he wandered down to Rondebosch Common instead of up to Main Road? Lack of glasses & the ability to focus after a boozy day? But the “why” should be asked by invested people. If they look at it & say “nonsense, we’ve covered all our bases”, then all the better.

    Or perhaps, his fellow Brit tourists who observe the same way he does must learn to look at the tournament from an African perspective, not a British perspective. That’s the joy of holding it in a new region each time. That the poorer population of CT might not be on Greenpoint’s doorstep or cannot just hop on a tube, like in London, but they know how to get there & something like “2 neighbourhoods away” is hardly going to stop them getting there. That there aren’t corner pubs like in London, so don’t expect that, and explore & find out what there is.

    Perhaps I give too much credit to this British tourist, and you probably know his type & how much credibility to give him, but I do reckon if he observed this in December, as a sports tourist, his observations are not completely ill-informed and nonsensical. Residents often forget or do not realise what tourists might find as obstacles to enjoying a city – and so it was interesting to read his.
    .-= Champagne Heathen´s last blog ..Guards of The Mail =-.

  7. Champs Heathen > OK – I take your point, that he was apparently here and therefore we should listen to what he has to say. But if that’s the case, then how do you reconcile that with those statements he makes which are just obviously wrong?
    That the stadium is miles away from any motorway link – that’s simply untrue.
    That the BRT system was abandoned last year – he must have passed two HUGE BRT stations to get into the stadium.
    That Cape Town won’t benefit from “30,000 fans” flying in and out of the city.
    That Cape Town can’t handle “thousands of thirsty fans” – we do this every summer and every cricket tour etc etc. Long Street, Waterfront, Kloof Street, Die Waterkant, Cape Quarter, Somerset Road etc etc.

    His comments on the FanZone are his opinion, but he’s either naive or stupid if he really believes that there will be no security and/or additional facilities introduced in the 6 months between his visit and the World Cup.

    No – I still think he’s spouting nonsense.

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