Everyday during the course of the World Cup I have kept a newspaper. Why? Well I’m guessing that some day down the road it will be good to review the amazing period we have just lived through. I am sure hindsight will add perspective and I’m sure we will point to this period as one that had a significant impact on our beloved country. The challenge today is of course to make sure that it does in fact impact our tomorrow for the better. More hard work is needed to translate the gains of the past month into sustainable future return.

And this is why I’m so hopping mad! Reading tonight’s Daily Mail, a number of well known people were asked to comment on the World Cup. Folk such as Desmond Tutu, Clive Barker, Shaun Pollock, Zweli Mkhize, Lucas Radebe and Mangosuthu Buthelezi were amongst those who had their say. All had positive things to say as one would expect; as would any reasonable person.

And then there is Ashwin Desai, a prominent sociologist.

Desai has nothing but negative comments with some attempts at weak humour. From the standard of the football to the opening and closing ceremonies he spills his poison. What an idiot! It speaks volumes as to the kind of  attitude that  acts as a hand-break to any change for the better. I’m so tired of negativity, something so prevalent amongst the white middle class prior to the World Cup. I often found myself as the lone voice of optimism in social circles that seemed to delight in focusing on the negative until it became a habit of mind and all they could see. I say enough! If the World Cup offers us anything it is the opportunity for new ‘mind ware’  – the chance to reboot, to choose to see the positive, the possible and the invitation to act on that belief. Individuals like Desai should go elsewhere, we don’t need him and his type here.Small spots of cancer can do untold harm if left to fester unchallenged.

A bit harsh? Maybe but look at the mood, read the signs. At the Fanfest whilst getting a beer at half-time when Bafana Bafana were 0-1 down to Uruguay, a young Zulu chap next to me, with tears streaming down his face, spontaneously turned to me and said, “we HAVE to equalize…we HAVE to score”. My initial assessment of his motivation for such passion as being attributable to him being a die-hard fan were quickly dispelled when he added, “because if we don’t I am fearful that all we have gained as a nation – things I have never experienced before, will disappear”. Well we didn’t score and yet we know that his fears weren’t realized. But the kind of negativity Desai so eloquently displays simply serves to erode the hard earned gains made. I have chosen to take a stand against that happening. Blind optimism, delusional naivety? No. On the day of the final my 22 year old daughter’s car was stolen. One she had worked so hard to buy, yet  as I watch her sense of perspective, her optimism in spite of her loss, people who should know better, people such as Desai, could learn a great deal from her attitude. She represents the future I want for our country. And so I choose optimism rather than the alternative represented by Desai.

Take your opinions elsewhere Desai, they’re not needed here.

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