07 July, 2009

You; me and 2010

Way forward: Andre Arendse addressing the public at Eden Grove.

Bongani Mthethwa
We have 340 days before the FIFA Soccer World Cup kicks-off in our country. Ordinary people like me and you ask what this event has in store. When you talk about 2010 most people think it’s a soccer event for rich people.
Think!Fest invited the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Andre Arendse to talk to the opportunities this tournament has for all of us. This talk was held on 5 July at Eden Grove, at Rhodes University.
The 2006 World Cup in Germany saw the GDP of Europe’s largest economy increase by R63 billion and tourism shoot up by 33 per cent. If SA beats these figures and jobs are created, this will do wonders for Africa’s largest economy. I am sure you have noticed how almost every road in the country appears to be under construction; not to mention the new stadia across the nine provinces.
They are all guaranteed to create jobs and put food on thousands of tables across South Africa. With fans from 32 countries coming to SA to support their respective teams, this is where you and I come in. These people need places to stay; they need to transport; they definitely need food; and they need to be protected.
Bed & Breakfast motels might be the way to go and those who own security companies might be applying for government tenders, but we can all get a bit of the largesse—as tour guides, turning our houses over to visitors for a fee, using our cars to transport people, selling merchandise and food, etc. These are just a few of the ways someone can make some money during the tournament. Remember, we were told SA needed more beds during the Confederations Cup.
The only way one can do this is to get as much information as one can to make sure that one does it in a right way. Government will be giving away tenders to the public. So we need to be as informed as we can.
There are things though that our government need to do to make sure that this event is successful. Many foreign critics did not give us a chance to host a successful Confederation Cup and I am sure they can not wait for next year. Former Bafana goalie Andre Arendse is not one of them.
The 2006 Soccer World Cup was successful but the only word that can describe our World Cup is colourful. When it comes to entertainment—arts, dance and music—we will wow the world.
This is the defining event for Africa and you, me and the World Cup should really have fun together.
· Bongani Mthethwa. Journalism student at Durban University of Technology. He is participating in the Future Journalists Programme (FJP) Winter School at Rhodes University.

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