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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid