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



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

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

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

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs