News / Africa

South Africans Bask in Success of 2010 World Cup

A 2010 World Cup stadium in South Africa
A 2010 World Cup stadium in South Africa

Multimedia

Audio

Although the 2010 Football World Cup ended nearly six months ago, many people in South Africa are still basking in warm memories of the event, and most say it was the highlight of the year.  For the organizers and the South African government it was the culmination of years of hard work. 

People in South Africa still recall the excitement of hosting the first football World Cup in Africa.  In the days before kick-off the high spirits often boiled over into marches and parades.

"Feel it. It is here," one man said. "I am getting excited about the World Cup."

In December Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk presented a report saying more than 300,000 foreigners came to South Africa for the month-long tournament and spent one-half billion dollars during their stay.

"The success of this World Cup will reverberate for years to come," he said.  "It has enhanced our reputation as a destination that has the ability to host events like this, major sporting events, conventions, but also for leisure tourists.  So, [it is] a success story."

He said the greatest proportion of foreign fans, 38 percent, came from Africa, followed by Europe and the Americas.

When broken down by country, he said the largest number of foreign fans, more than 30,000, came from the United States, followed by Mozambique and Great Britain.

The report said nearly 60 percent of the World Cup visitors were coming to South Africa for the first time and 80 percent said it was their first World Cup.

Among those who had attended a previous World Cup, half said the 2010 tournament was the best ever.  And nearly 90 percent of all those polled said they would consider a return visit.

The head of the Organizing Committee, Danny Jordaan, said the World Cup provided an opportunity to showcase South Africa as a world class tourist destination.

But he said a major purpose was to foster national reconciliation and unity after years of inequality and discrimination under apartheid.

"We are a nation that comes from divided past, a past of conflict, almost of war," he said. "And so the building of new single non-racial South Africa is a critical part of sustainable economic growth, of deepening and strengthening democracy in our country."

The World Cup also provided an incentive to invest in infrastructure.

The government over four years spent an estimated $12 billion on new stadiums, airports, roads and railways.  And it spent $160 million on security, including crowd control training, new equipment and special courts for law-breakers at World Cup sites.

Tourism Minister van Schalkyk said the investment was worth it.

"Looking back at the World Cup, as South Africans we can now say with a clear conscience that it has been worth every cent," he said. "It has been worth every ounce of energy and it has been worth every minute of our time, undoubtedly."

More than three million tickets were sold to the Cup's 64 matches, the third-highest attendance in history after the United States in 1994 and Germany in 2006.

Hundreds of thousands of fans watched the matches on giant screens at fan parks around the country.  And millions more watched them on television in cafes or at home.

And there was a focus on civic responsibility and legacy.  The football governing body, FIFA, sponsored the Football for Hope tournament that brought together disadvantaged youths from nearly 40 countries for an alternate tournament.

And FIFA opened the first of 20 Football for Hope centers in Africa.  These seek attract disadvantaged youth through football in order to provide them with training in health, nutrition and social coping skills.   

For the government the World Cup served to build national unity and showcase South Africa's hospitality, tourism and organizational ability. For fans it provided memories of a lifetime.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More