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After the Party

After the Party

by Vuyo Seripe / 13.07.2010

We all felt the fever – it was here. Now it’s gone. What’s next? We all sort of knew the boys wouldn’t make it very far in The Cup – but we dared to dream. Which was good for us. It’s been awhile since we had something warm and good to rally around. We’ve seen pot holes being filled and a great deal of national pride on display. Millions were inevitably blown on sending government officials and corporate insiders to games, parties and bashes. But whatever. After all this, we’ll certainly have a hangover and it’ll need more than a Regmaaker or two to make it go away.
There’s a lot to savour. We are the first African country to host a World Cup. Beyond that, despite the severe economic downturn, we’re developing faster than most other African countries. Too many of our neighbours are still fighting over table scraps, mired in civil war, and yet to cash in on their “developmental potential” as independent nations. It could easily have been us. Hey, the momentous decision made in 1994 to create a “rainbow nation” instead of plunging us all into a fucking civil war is serving our country well!

We are haunted by what-if scenarios and difficult choices. All the money spent on The World Cup could have been spent on “better things” like educating several million children. Vast sums were put into building stadiums rather than increasing salaries for teachers, mine workers, and bus drivers, or supporting the millions who have lost their jobs in the first quarter of the year. This is life under capitalism. A hundred thousand losers lose in order for one winner to win. We need more real control over our own lives.

Anyway, I was recently filling out a “dissertation questionnaire” for a visiting American student. She’s writing about women in South African politics. Her questions were, like, so tell me about Mbeki being sexist, Manto being an alcoholic, Malema being a blabber-mouth, and Zuma being a rapist. South Africa’s infamous government officials! The usual suspects, right. What I hated most about her questions was how they sounded pretty much answered from her end – and none of them were positive. She even suggested that we’re headed in the same direction as Zimbabwe. No Way!
Nobody else decides who we are. It’s up to us. And the World Cup has taken our reality around the world. Everyone who visited and saw our land on their televisions and online can now judge ruling party slogans and promises like “A Better Life for All” and “2010 and Beyond.” How long ago was the promise of a “better life for all” made? Sixteen years – how long before the promise is realised?

No doubt, hosting the World Cup brought about genuine goodwill and much needed positivity. That energy is something to hold onto, something worth keeping. For a country like ours chances to be positive and proud are all too few. Opening our home to the world has made us feel good. There are new transport systems, massive stadiums, and a huge global advertisement for the “new South Africa”. It may have all been worth it, but the party’s over, and now we have to clean up and pay the bill.

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RESPONSES (10)
  1. filipa says:

    sick photo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Roger Young says:

    After the party it’s the Ho-Tel Lobby!

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  3. Yazmin says:

    Wow, this is an incredible article. Thought provoking, poignant and heart felt. Thank you for asking the questions I’m sure so many would fail to ask and for hinting the light at the end of what seems like a never ending tunnel.

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  4. KumKani Pantshwa says:

    this is real. a well balanced perspective of our great republic,good and bad equals a universal approach without loosing the singular…indeed we’re only going to appreciate the true fruits of world cup developments long after Danny and Irvin have gone. let’s roll our sleeves and begin the real work now

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  5. usvokked says:

    You’re right, it is up to us. Unfortunately the “us” are so fragmented, disillusioned, distracted (by kak like reality shows, sport, etc) that it is oh so easy for them (anc/gov/banks/etc) to maintain control over “us.”
    Until “us” find some sort of solidarity, nothing is going to change. Don’t ask me how to find it, I don’t know..but I do know this…in this world of “me,” there is no “us.”

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  6. K says:

    It’s all well and good to be happy abt the world cup. Well done Mzansi, but I expected something a little more critical perspective from Mahala, something digging deeper beyond the post-WC euhporia considering what neurotic power-freaks FIFA turned out to be (even to the point of allegedly bullying Madiba into attendance), the strikes and the South Africans to whom the WC meant losing a home. I’d hoped to see a more insightful piece written with as much heart and truth as the Bafana v Uruguay article with an anti-establishment edge to it yet still +ve, but oh well. *shrug*

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  7. Sisipho says:

    Shabba i would you to be my date next year. My name is sisipho sibelo from port elizabeth. My numberz re 0734049760. Please lawrance dont let me down. I am your biggest since you played silver stars you are the man

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  8. Dennis says:

    Boo-hoo Vuyo. Quit your bitching. You’re making SA sound like a daddy America’s rebelious teenager in need of a snot-klap.

    The fact that an “American student” would have such a silly list of questions should not surprise you at all…. While the educated, rest of the world know South Africa is an amazing place and South Africans are cool, spirited people, they also know that the vast majority of Americans are a bunch of uneducated morons who idealise being a rich rapper over getting an education.

    Ban DSTV in SA!
    Ban Vuyo from Mahala!

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  9. vuyo seripe says:

    Thank you for all your comments, they’re much appreciated. Yazmin seems to have grasped the point of my article, which was to simply highlight the fact the WC did us more good than harm, although we won’t reap the benefits immediately. KumKani and usvokked, it’s all up to “us” -“us” is possible if we let go of “me” and do little things that contribute to better society – writing, making art, doing something for children (helping them with homework, teaching them how to read, etc.), I dunno – donating shit, whatever – sharing skills and knowledge and using the platforms we have to express ourselves.

    K… ? Not everything on Mahala will sound the same or suit your taste – we all write differently. *Shrug*

    Sisipho – can’t help you there, let’s hope Shabba reads the article.

    Dennis, you’re being a menace and just as ignorant as the American student. I’m not bitching – I simply wanted to highlight the fact that we are in fact a capitalist country and if we’re capable of hosting an event so successful, we’re not a fucken dilapidated country like many people think – including South Africans who fuck off to Australia and shit. We’re cool, indeed. “…they also know that the vast majority of Americans are a bunch of uneducated morons who idealise being a rich rapper over getting an education.” You sound like Malema on this one, generalizing Americans in that way is no better than racism. What’s DSTV got to do with anything? You just sound angry, take a happy pill and get over yourself.

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