Saturday, 12 June 2010

World Cup 2010: South Africa welcomes the world

Whether you're into football/soccer/the kicking of balls by men or not, unless you're planning a holiday to the moon (or the US) sometime in the next month, you'll no doubt find yourself bombarded with epic amounts of media coverage for the World Cup 2010, which kicked off yesterday and runs to July 11th. Yes, it's here, taking over your television screens for the foreseeable, resistance is futile.

But it's not just the football on display for the next 4 weeks, as South Africa opens it's doors to the world and show us exactly what they're capable of. For any nation hosting a major sporting event there are of course huge social and environmental concerns to be taken into consideration, and SA is no different. Can you afford to build the facilities required, can your transport systems cope, what will happen once the contest is over and more importantly can you cope with a shed load of English people landing on your doorstep demanding chips and lager?

For a more deatiled insight into just what the carbon footprint of this event is estimated to be, I suggest you check out Daniela Estrada's article in the Guardian earlier this month, where she highlights the huge environmental costs involved. However she does also state that South Africa and future hosts Brazil are making some attempts to go green, through cleaner transport systems and planned ecological stadiums, so I guess it's a start if nothing else. And it is also worth remembering when talking about South Africa's green commitment, that it was in Cape Town in the late 1990s that clean electrical company Freeplay Energy popularized the wind up radio, as means of promoting green industry in the continent, improving communications and with a long term aim of combating the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

I really hope things go well, and am actually looking forward to getting into the spirit this year for a change, providing the excessive coverage doesn't interfere too much with the BBC's screening of the remaining three episodes of Dr Who. If it does, I'll be regarding the beeb and football with equal amounts of bile spit and much gnashing of teeth.  Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people whose names I can't remember properly from my friend Rachel's house last night, who showed me a great way to make your own Vuvuzela. Simply snip the top of a straw into a triangular point, place between pursed lips and blow. Lot less plastic than the full sized ones and still as much fun, especially after a couple of drinks.

 N.B. Most of this article was written earlier this week, before the tragic road accident that resulted in the death of Nelson Mandela's 13 year old great granddaughter on Friday. It has somewhat overshadowed the opening ceremony celebrations, but has been respectfully acknowledged by all those involved, making yesterday a bitter sweet moment for South Africa and of course the Mandela family. My heart goes out to all those involved, including the families of the English teenagers killed in a separate bus accident in South Africa this week.

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