The kickoff to the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South is drawing closer (48 days to go at the time of this blog going to press). In this blog I will attempt to give visitors to our beautiful country for the Wolrd Cup a ground zero perspective about South Africa as a country and South Africa as a Soccer World Cup host.
Let’s start with a small geography lesson 🙂 South Africa is a country on the African continent. You’ll notice in the map below that’s it the country at the Southern most tip of the African continent, hence the name ‘South Africa’. Economically, South Africa has the highest GDP on the African continent with Nigeria a close second. In my personal opinion Nigeria will take over the highest GDP mantle in the not too distant future based on Nigeria’s natural resources (like oil), size of population (between 150 & 160 million people) & economic growth rate. South Africa’s population comes in at just under 50 million people.
Courtesy of Google Maps
South Africa is further subdivided into 9 provinces with World Cup Stadiums in different provinces. The City of Johannesburg will be the key host city with the opening and closing games being played at Soccer City in Johannesburg. The different countries participating in the World Cup will be based in different cities in South Africa.
South Africa is a culturally diverse country with 11 official languages. English is however predominantly spoken to mitigate communication gaps. The climate can be compared to the best in the world with little or no natural disaster exposure. You’ll notice that the chart below depicting average temperatures during the year. Take special note of the average temps during the June/July World Cup Months & that is in the middle of our Winter season.
Courtesy of http://www.southafrica.info
The people are sunny & warm just like our weather 🙂 Our dark history (of apartheid), if anything, has made us an incredibly resilient nation determined to succeed at everything we attempt. Our constitution, written by political activists against the backdrop of the apartheid system while imprisoned is considered one of the best constitutions in the world.
From a sporting perspective, we are a very competitive nation. Soccer in South Africa can be likened very much to the Brazilian soccer culture. It’s the biggest sport here & can be seen played everywhere you go. The tangible benefits & the legacy the World Cup will leave in South Africa will be seen & felt for years to come. Based on the newly introduced rotational system of who will host the World Cup, we may never see another World Cup in Africa for decades. So now is the time, it’s Africa’s turn to shine, be a part of this phenomenon and you too can say ‘You were there!.
If you’re visiting for the World Cup, there is an official World Cup dance coined locally, it’s called the Diski Dance. Learn the dance, we’ll expect you to do it as you get off the plane when you arrive 🙂 You can view the video at the following YouTube location:
Depicted below are the World Cup 2010 stadia that will host the games. Also, depicted below is the specific Cities within South Africa that these stadia are located.
Courtesy of Google Image Search
When greeting anyone in South Africa you could just use Hi, Howzit or Hola…Anything will do. It’s Africa’s turn. Experience this sporting sepctacular sporting event with an African flavour. In the famous words of Sepp Blatter, “Halala South Africa, Halala” (Halala means – It’s coming)