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Archive for June 4th, 2010

• Friday, June 04th, 2010

We’re staying at the St. John’s Waterfront Lodge, just a few minutes walk from the Cape Town stadium where some World Cup matches are scheduled. We hoped to get a tour of the facility, but were told we came a few days too late.

I begin casually talking to one of the stadium volunteers who turned out to be a prospective source in turning some of our story ideas into actual stories. Cole Davids works with the president’s office in coordinating various youth projects. We discussed a few ideas that sound promising, so if you get any stories from us involving children, he probably helped with sources and research.

Cole was just one of many people who helped us in various ways throughout the day. I don’t think the World Cup had anything to do with it; South Africans are just generally nice people. You could tell no one was putting on an act. It was just so genuine.

The only unhappy faces we came across where a group of people camped just outside the stadium, hoping to find various jobs for the duration of the World Cup. Here’s a short video I recorded of the event.

This an example of the economic impact the World Cup will have in South Africa. There will undoubtedly be more stories or blog entries related to this issue.

I could fill you in on many other events that have taken place, but I’ll save some until later.

Signing out from South Africa, with love!

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• Friday, June 04th, 2010

A flood of yellow and green jerseys pranced through the gallery of the National Parliament chambers in Cape Town Thursday. Children sported gold headbands with South African flags sprouting from the top of the bands as if the flags grew from their scalps.

Below the balcony, on the main floor, there was a mix of suit bottoms and Bafana Bafana jerseys.

Members of Parliament tooted vuvuzela horns and others hugged and greeted each other.

The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa debated the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 3 in downtown Cape Town.

Some may consider this circus-like foul play for a nation’s government, but with seven days left until the first African FIFA World Cup, politicians couldn’t resist showing their pride.

Butana Komphela, chairman of the parliamentary sports committee, welcomed the world to South Africa.

“With the greatest humility we say to the nations of the world, because you have accepted us you will never forget South Africa,” Komphela said.

Zacumi, the Cup’s mascot, primary school students, South African football representatives and World Cup committee members sat in the chamber’s gallery watching the debate.

Fadwah Pandey, a fifth-grade teacher at Perivale Primary School, said Thursday was a significant day to cheer on Bafana Bafana, the nickname for the South African men’s soccer team, which means “the boys.”

“We have seven days until the World Cup,” Pandey said. “Seven represents luck and surprise, so I brought my students to cheer for Bafana Bafana.”

Many of the assembly members spoke about the skepticism the country received from soccer fans, who doubted the their ability to prepare for the Cup in time.

The country was given a 50 billion Rand budget and a list of tasks to be completed including expanding roads, building stadiums and improving airports by the June 11 opening day for the World Cup.

The country also set aside 8 percent of the budget to avoid inflation cost overruns.

Other assembly members made a point to mention the failure to meet the projections that 450,000 fans would visit the country.

“A question of whether South Africa can be tested to stand its ground is like a kite against the wind,” Komphela said, “And we managed to do that.”

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