On the 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. His release was not just the freedom of a single man, it was the freedom of an entire nation. That was the greatest moment in South African history, it was the victory of all that is right and good about humanity. The nation had dreams that finally someone would care about the suffering of the poor and the alleviation of poverty and the general upliftment of all the people within its borders. Now 20 years later our, we have three great achievements to speak of
1. A functioning democracy
2. Vastly improved tax collection system
3. Hosting of a soccer world cup
It seems hosting the world cup is important because the world did not think that an African country at the bottom of the earth could do it. But we did show them that even a African country could pull off a well organised event in a world class manner. I congratulate all those involved with its success, including the national team, Bafana Bafana. It has been the best world cup so far and I am loving it. I am also loving that the people of this wonderful country are enjoying it so much. The smiles on peoples faces, the spring in their steps is reminiscent of that wonderful day of Madiba’s release. Let us enjoy this moment and bask in the glory of its accomplishment.
But underlying all this enjoyment, I have little nagging feeling that I just can’t get rid of. In the middle of all this euphoria, celebration and the lovely Shakira (I love Shakira), I just cannot fully enjoy it. I began to wonder why?
6 years ago, FIFA entrusted my government with a task that the world over thought could not be done by an African nation. The South African government committed people, money, focus, time, drive and passion to fulfill this goal of hosting a soccer world cup. They have exceeded all expectations, but this leaves me with just 1 simple question. If we as a nation have in 6 short years accomplished so much for a frivolous game that provides entertainment, we could with the same amount of intensity, passion and focus change peoples live forever. We could provide the the amazing people of this country homes, water, electricity, health care, education, safety and employment.
I challenge our government to change peoples lives over the next 6 six years, show your country that you can do it! Show the same dedication and drive that brought us a wonderful world cup. You have shown the world that you can pull off a world cup, now lets show our people that we can change all our lives for the better, forever. Let us keep the smiles, the joy, the pride in our nation by delivering on our freedom dreams. South Africa you can do it!
To all soccer lovers around the world enjoy the world cup as much as us Africans are enjoying it! Viva Bafana Bafana….play with heart, for you are in our hearts…….