Vu­vuze­las can break our shack­les

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE MANY flags dis­played ev­ery­where for the World Cup in South Africa are much more than a sim­ple ref­er­ence to coun­try of ori­gin, pret­ty­ing up a place or, in the case of busi­nesses, homage to po­ten­tial cus­tomers. They are also a re­minder that the Global Vil­lage has a long way to go, and that there is more to life than obey­ing the lat­est dic­tates of the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try.

The change in mood from the be­gin­ning of the year, when Malema, the non-pres­i­dency, paras­tatal rub­bish and crime and cor­rup­tion pushed up the tur nover in anti-de­pres­sants, antacids and ear muffs to record lev­els, is as­ton­ish­ing. Ex­cept for the oc­ca­sional die-hard mut­ter­ings of “wait un­til af­ter the World Cup” there is a fab­u­lous vibe of sat­is­fac­tion and pride at our achieve­ment in mak­ing such a suc­cess­ful start to our World Cup.

Sto­ries of happy vis­i­tors, re­ports of fab­u­lous ad­ver­tis­ing films on in­ter­na­tional tele­vi­sion and an over­whelm­ing me­dia fo­cus on good hap­pen­ings have put a smile on most faces.

But the most amaz­ing thing for me has been the depth of pa­tri­otic sup- port shown by so many young folk. The vu­vuzela-har­monised streets, sta­di­ums and Fan Fest venues are full of them. The very peo­ple marginalised and dis­ad­van­taged by the new dis­pen­sa­tions, and I in­clude ev­ery pop­u­la­tion group, have sud­denly found a rea­son to show their true colours. The amount of good will to­wards South Africa is a rev­e­la­tion.

Be­cause in the Global Vil­lage, shop­ping malls and corner shops it is easy to for­get that es­pe­cially the young peo- ple need more than ma­te­rial things, need more than rou­tines, for con­tent­ment. What has be­come very ev­i­dent is that our World Cup has be­come a source of hope and in­spi­ra­tion. We know the world is look­ing at us, and we like what we are show­ing them. Our fo­cus has changed from neg­a­tive to pos­i­tive.

Is it too much to hope that the mood con­tin­ues, is nur­tured and en­cour­aged, for a last­ing ben­e­fit for all? That pa­tri­o­tism is given a chance, with less talk and more ac­tion in all sorts of high places, with pro­grammes ac­tu­ally ben­e­fit­ing ev­ery­body in the sec­ond-rich­est coun­try in the world (by min­eral re­sources), an in­spi­ra­tion for all, es­pe­cially the young?

That em­i­gra­tion by grad­u­ates and the skilled, nearly all pa­tri­otic South Africans, is halted through a re­al­is­tic of­fer­ing of a less trou­bled fu­ture?

That this won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to break some of our self-im­posed chains is taken? Be­cause the flags and vu­vuze­las show it is pos­si­ble.

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