Predictably and comfortingly unsurprisingly I am not enamored with the Soccer World Cup. I’m dully unchanging in my sarcastic, cynical outlook about anything everyone goes gaga over. I find it gives me something to mull over while I go about my hum-drum sort of life.
I also suspect my detractors1 find some cold comfort in thinking me miserable and negative. But they should really know by now that I take great joy in my misery and negativity. And so it is for them that I sit and indulge myself in a spot of Soccer World Cup bashing.
Perhaps the most irritating factor of this World Cup is that South Africa’s worth is now judged by the Twitter Trending Topic. I should point out that my angst with soccer is vastly fueled by what I read on Twitter and Facebook and by watching eTV’s increasingly preposterous news bulletins.
“Oooh, Vuvuzela is trending!”
“5 of Twitter’s Top 10 Trending topics are about South Africa!!!!!!”
“Let’s get Phillip trending! Phillip you beauty!!!”
*excuse me while I roll my eyes and make a puking face*
Then what happens? What exactly happens when vuvuzela starts to “trend” on Twitter? What does it mean for the average Joe strolling down the meandering pathways of shanty towns in search of this evening’s meal? What does it mean for the politician pulling his pants up after a mid-afternoon shaggathon with a woman who is not his wife in a seedy hotel just around the corner from 90 Plein Street? What does it mean to me, a Tweep, voraciously addicted to chronicling my daily routine for anyone who cares? What? Bugger all that’s what.
And yet we all must use World Cup hashtags and get extremely excited when we chuck “Cala Boca Galvao” and Justin Beiber out of the now obviously oh-so-important number one spot on the trending topic list.
And then comes in the fake camaraderie among the races! Am I being too sensitive when I think suspect even as they jump on the “Phillip! It is Here!” wave most of the Twitterverse is secretly embarrassed for and laughing at the poor daily UKhozi FM caller who spawned Phillip? I mean, who did he THINK Philip was? Hahaha. Perhaps I am the only one embarrassed and laughing.
Anyway the tweets come in all shapes and sizes:
“Oooh! Rainbow Nation!!”
“Madiba! o========<() PAAAAAAARP!!!”
“Oh My God I love my country!! SOUTH AFRICA *hoarse voice*”
“Wave your flag! Wave your flag! I’m so EMOTIONAL!”
“Sandton is ONE colour today! Not blacks and whites and Indians but South Africans!”
“My blood is YELLOW!”
Among these irritatingly uncharacteristic tweets and Facebook status updates by my various pals and those retweeted into my stream (as well as Debra Patta saying with a deadpan face, “I’ve got the fevah, how about you?”) a small voice of truth emerges”
“Why the F&*^ did they have to build the biggest Stadium in Soweto? Isn’t that like Murderville?”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I love this Tweep! Whoever he is, he remains among the few who don’t forget the intrinsic distrust and dislike among the races in South Africa, #WC2010 notwithstanding.
When Nelson Mandela walked in public for the first time after his 27 years of incarceration South Africans of all races were hugging in the streets (except the white people furtively packing for Europe/Australia and anywhere else the swart gevaar didn’t threaten). And yet two weeks before the World Cup the races were firmly aware of the differences in their skin color and took great pleasure in disliking each other. Other incidents in which the races have set aside their differences for a period to come together as a nation include: the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the famous Bafana Bafana Afcon win in 1996 (well maybe that united the blacks, a couple of colourdes on account of Benni, Mark Williams and Shaun Bartlett and Clive Barker’s friends and family represented the white crew), the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the shock at Xenophobic violence and the Zuma rape trial to name but a few.
BUT! … After these incidents everyone goes back to hating each other in peace, thinly veiled hostility or openly depending on which camp you belong to. With the few that aren’t racist going back to normal as well.
The lines were drawn when Eugene Terre’Blanche was killed, some white people remain incensed at Affirmative Action, emigration remains the cherished dream of many young white people, moaning about apartheid is still the favoured pastime of those blacks who feel hard done by, and I remain ignorant of the Indian and Coloured take on the racial issues in our country.
But HEY, it’s the Soccer World Cup so let’s all band together against Patrice Evra, to keep the vuvuzela blowing in stadiums. Who cares if we don’t like it as one Tweep artlessly asks, we’re still going to band against the foreign element to keep it blowing!? To borrow from Juju, they mustn’t come here with their foreigner tendencies!
Is Fifa now going to station noise decibel testers (whatever they may be called) outside the stadiums and vuvuzelas will be tested for the lowered 20 decibel stipulation? It doesn’t matter that not too long ago there were those who were fighting to have the annoying horns banned from rugby games, IN this country. We can justify that easily enough; the vuvuzela is for soccer, not rugby! Yeah right Saffas!
Amidst all of this merry-making our president is not doubt praying fervently that by the time we all put our heads back on, the furore about a bodyguard, a first lady and a cuckolded husband will have long died down. The Cape Party quietly colludes (hyperbole) to secede the Western Cape from the Republic. Julius Malema is keeping uncharacteristically mum (which I dub cause for worry) and the Cope circus continues its run about town.
When are South Africans going to come together FOR the country? Not as some fuck-off hug fest for foreigners to watch and think, “Boy were we WRONG about them or what?” When are they going to truly set aside their differences to work towards a better South Africa together? Why is it better for some to sit back and proclaim, “Are you surprised? I TOLD you the blacks were going to f&*! this country up!” instead of looking around doing something? What is the point of me pontificating in this space if I am not going to vote “right” the next election? The power of the ANC and the magnitude of its fuck-ups are handed to them on a golden plate by those who continue to do nothing but bask in the glory of the “I told you so” spotlight. And Tweet about it till in trends of course.
#SouthAfricaSucks! <--future trending topic
So forgive me if I don’t join in the merry-making about the World Cup, I am too lazy to go back and reclaim my sarcastic, jaded-about-this-country thread when the foreigners are all gone and we all realize the Gautrain costs too bloody much to be a feasible commuter train for the average South African and that building a giant calabash in the middle of Soweto might not have been such a smart idea after all.
I’ll see all of your real selves on July 12!
1 I don’t actually have these, but I like to fancy myself important in my daydreams.