News / Africa

Exuberant South African Football Fans Fired Up for 2010 World Cup

Multimedia

The first football World Cup on the African continent has sparked a serious outbreak of football fever in South Africa. Experts say because it so infectious, the hundreds of thousands of visiting foreign fans are likely to catch this unique enthusiasm for the game.

South African football fans are among the most exuberant in the world. For them a match is a party and, win or lose, they celebrate with song, dance and noise.

Flag vendors are doing a booming business as everyone gets into the spirit. Flags from all 32 countries competing in the Cup can be seen waving from cars, homes and offices. The most popular? South Africa's, of course.

The 2010 World Cup mascot is called Zakumi. He looks like a leopard in a football uniform, only his wild hair locks are green. He has become an instant celebrity as he crisscrosses the country celebrating the game.

Saddam Maake bills himself as the number-one fan of the South African team. He attends most of the games dressed from head to toe in the team colors of yellow and green.

"I like soccer. I am a soccer slave," he said. "I drink soccer, sleep soccer, eat soccer. That's why I love soccer."

Among fans who like to dress up, a popular accessory is the Makarapa. It is made from a plastic "hard hat" used in the mines. Parts of the shell are cut in the shapes of balls, flags or football players, bended out and painted.

Artist Alfred Baloyi, another football fanatic, made the first Makarapa 30 years ago after he saw a fan hit on the head by a bottle thrown during a match.

"When I go to the stadium I wear it to save my head," said Baloyi. "So when days go on [as time goes by] I paint it. I go to the stadium, the people, they like it."

The hats became so popular that he began selling them. Baloyi works at his home in a shanty town outside Johannesburg. Dozens of artists imitate his work and produce thousands of hats a month for clients around the world.

Another local football fixture, though more controversial, is the Vuvuzela. It is a long plastic horn that produces a single note. But when thousands of them are blowing at the same time they create a din (noise) that opposing teams say can be intimidating.

Some foreign players and TV announcers have called for the horns to be banned. But football's governing body, FIFA, has refused saying they are part of the African football experience.

A special dance has been created for the World Cup. It is called the Diski after a local term for football. It mimics the moves by soccer players on the field.

A band of young steel drum players are practicing for opening night on June 11th in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium when South Africa plays Mexico.

Although some visitors find this exuberance a bit hard on the ears, many foreign fans say they love it because it celebrates football. And in Africa celebrating football means making noise.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid