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Nations’ Flags Are Big Sellers at World Cup

Hosting the World Cup has been a boon to South Africa's economy and has yielded many additional job opportunities for workers. One of the most colorful ventures belongs to the street vendors selling the flags of the 32 nations competing in football's premier tournament.

South Africa is known as "the Rainbow Nation" and during the World Cup it more than lives up to its reputation. In Johannesburg it seems as though street vendors are just about anywhere you look and they are selling the flags of all the nations taking part in the World Cup.

As anyone who has attended an international sporting event can attest, the flags are as numerous as stars in African skies. You will see them proudly waving from the cars going by, worn as shawls by fans, and of course, proudly displayed at the stadiums in support of the respective national teams.

VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer, in South Africa to cover the World Cup, says "I do not think I have ever seen more flags around. Not just in the stadiums, not just around the stadiums, but it seems [on] almost every street corner in Johannesburg someone is hawking flags. And not just South African flags, flags of other countries as well. So we have many, many flags everywhere."

Some of the people now selling flags were unemployed before the World Cup, while others left their old jobs because they can make more money selling the banners to patriotic football fanatics.

The vendors are selling the large flags for around $20, with the flags of Brazil, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal among the top sellers. Some sellers can earn as much as $100 per day.

In a country where a quarter of the workforce is unemployed and almost 40 percent live below the poverty line that sort of windfall allows the vendors to take better care of themselves and their families.