News / Africa

South Africa Struggles to Maintain World Cup Legacy

Children attend football training at a ground in Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg on June 30, 2010. Memories of South Africa 2010 World Cup are fading fast, as its progress halted by a scandal-ridden period off the field since the historic tournament.
Children attend football training at a ground in Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg on June 30, 2010. Memories of South Africa 2010 World Cup are fading fast, as its progress halted by a scandal-ridden period off the field since the historic tournament.
When South Africa won its bid to host football's 2010 World Cup it promised its citizens lasting social and economic benefits.  But huge costs associated with the sporting event have been a point of controversy, causing some to question whether it was worth it. 

Everyday after school, about 80 children come to play on a brand new football field in the heart of Hillbrow, one of Johannesburg's most infamous areas.  The court was donated by the Dutch soccer team and the Johan Cruyff foundation during football's 2010 World Cup.  It is one of the most outstanding legacies of the event.  On the wall above the stands is a sign with the rules the children have to follow.  They include respect, fair play and social involvement.

Coach John "Bull" Sibeko says that in addition to providing an outlet for the children, the sport has also changed their behavior - for the better.

"Before I started here, I couldn't believe I would stay for more than a year" said Sibeko. "Because kids were uncontrollable. You could understand the background, from where they were coming from.  High level of vandalism, bullying among themselves.  But now, if we are playing tournaments around, in terms of behavior, in terms of values, in terms of culture, in terms of respect, the group, you couldn't distinguish it," he said.

New and improved sports infrastructure is not the only benefit from the World Cup.  In neighboring Bertrams, an area long plagued by high criminality and poverty, public transportation has improved, explained social worker Phindile Tshabangu.

"That is the new bus system.  People use it now because it is quicker, safer and cheaper," Tshabangu said.

The revamped roads and street lights, new parks and clean streets are all obvious benefits from the World Cup. But the challenge now is to maintain them.  Some benefits have not lasted, Tshabangu said.

"Before, in 2010, the police used to come. You'd find police cars around the area.  But now, no more.  Safety was so good, you could see people leaving at night.  But now, no more. "

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right , and South African President Jacob Zuma give a press conference in Johannesburg, 12-03-2010.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right , and South African President Jacob Zuma give a press conference in Johannesburg, 12-03-2010.

Maintaining the five new stadiums that were built especially for the World Cup is a problem. Most of them struggle to be profitable or even to just pay the maintenance fees.

On the pitch, Brazilian tourist Danilo Camargo poses for a souvenir photo with his girlfriend. The new Green Point stadium in Cape Town has become a landmark of the city, and everyday tourists from all around the world come to visit.  But for Camargo, whose home country Brazil will host the next football World Cup in two years, it is not necessarily an example to follow.

"My opinion is that we should build schools and hospitals, instead of stadiums," he said. "But you know, we are already chosen for the World Cup, so now we have to build."

The total cost of the South Africa World Cup was $3.8 billion, 10 times more than what was originally planned.

Many in South Africa share Danilo's opinion regarding the building of new stadiums, which are seen as extravagances.

The new Cape Town stadium still struggles to host enough events to pay for its colossal maintenance.  Some people are calling for it to be demolished, while others even propose turning it into low-income housing.

Grant Pascoe, counselor in charge of tourism and marketing for the city of Cape Town, does not deny the difficulties the management is facing, but said they work hard to make the stadium profitable.

"We've had a number of events. Obviously not as high as what we would have liked," he said. "We should have prepared better for how the stadium would be used.  However, now we are in the process of doing everything that we need to do. There are some restrictions on us that prohibit us from doing commercial activities at the stadium to pay for itself," Pascoe said.

Despite all the controversy, most South Africans agree that the World Cup did reinforce social cohesion in a country marked by deep racial discrimination.

And the infrastructure should be put to use again next year, as South Africa will host the African Cup of Nations.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: CUSP CONSULTING from: Johannesburg
October 22, 2012 3:12 AM
SA needs deep structural & systemic change: READ: A Convergent Model for Social Cohesion http://wp.me/p2LXv0-i

by: Edwin Kaliku, PhD. from: Albany, New York
October 18, 2012 2:11 PM
South Africa should market the sports Stadium to the highest bidder. The sports ground should be contracted to the highest bidder and the proceeds from it should be used to maintain the stadium, pay th eoriginal cost and for the common person sustainance.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs