Thursday, June 9, 2011

2010 Celebrations Put on Ice


The planned celebrations to commemorate the one-year anniversary of hosting a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup on Saturday had to be put on ice due to the funeral of ANC stalwart Albertina Sisulu on the same day. 

"We were going to have a celebration this Saturday and unfortunately due to the passing away of Ma Sisulu, we decided it would not be appropriate to celebrate on the same day as her funeral. We then said rather let’s look at July 11 and that’s the position we have taken," said 2010 LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan. 

Danny Jordaan

"That would have been the day the final match was played but the challenge there is that July 11 is a Monday, so instead we will have our celebrations on July 9-10." 

Sisulu died on Thursday, aged 92 and she will be buried on Saturday, the same day South Africa would have commemorated the one year anniversary of hosting the 2010 World Cup. 

It will not be the first time that the 2010 World Cup related activities are interrupted. Last year, a planned attendance to the opening match of the World Cup by former State President Nelson Mandela was cancelled at the last hour following the passing away of his granddaughter in a car accident hours before the big kick-off. 

While the 2010 football spectacle has been criticized a loss making venture, Jordaan said the gains were far more than can be imagined and that the country would continue to benefit for years to come. 

"A sense of pride… When you see South Africans all over the world and the reaction they receive when they introduce themselves, the immediate smiles and the sense that their country has delivered something they can be proud of anywhere in the world. 

"And then a generation of patriotism - when looked at South Africans in the streets, people were proud to be South African. They were good hosts, who welcomed everybody and celebrated with everyone. They supported all the teams," said Jordaan. 

Prior to the event the country had to grapple with negative perceptions relating to safety and security. While crime still remains a problem, Jordaan believes the country’s image has certainly changed from where it was prior to the World Cup.

"The third thing is the image makeover for our country. The image is different now.

I remember before the World Cup, most European press were saying there are two things you must have in your luggage – a bullet proof vest and a stab proof vest. They said you must have these items, pack it first because you are going to be mugged.

"But when they left, the same journalists were saying this was the safest World Cup ever. You don’t see them writing about crime in South Africa anymore. From that monkey on our backs since 1990, crime, crime, crime… it's gone," he said.

Wishful thinking Mr. Jordaan, Wishfull thinking!!!

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