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.
South Africa is a strange country, which boasts about freedom of speech, yet is highly intolerant of the same. The 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa was hardly gone, when threats of ‘Afrophobic’ (euphemistically dubbed xenophobia) violence reared up. Foreigners from Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Asia are welcome, but not those black bastards from Africa! How can an African be a foreigner in Africa? But as it stands, the world cup was a success. The country put many social projects aside, so as to entertain ‘foreigners’. South Africa has the highest incidence of social unrest of any country in the world. Had the upheavals been co-ordinated, then we would have been described as a country in revolution. I remember years back Mr. Nelson Mandela saying that negotiations were entered into so as to avoid a bloodbath – the bloodbath was never avoided, it continues unabated, and has even escalated, but thankfully it is contained in the townships, so it does not really affect the ‘beneficiaries’ of the negotiated settlement. I have also often heard reference to the South African revolution. What rubbish. The revolution was killed by the negotiated settlement, so as to ‘rubber-stamp’ South Africa’s entrance back into the world – Sport, economics, tourism etc. Who really benefitted, and who really benefitted from this spectacular event? I do not find any use in lambasting someone for an opinion – and being insulting while doing so. Discuss the issues raised, not the person who raised them.
Mark you raise a good point concerning the personal nature of my article, thanks for taking the time to respond. However, Desai gets to be personal all the time – have another look at his piece that I was responding too. Perhaps this is the only language he understands for if he were to write something constructive for a change – and use wisely the editorial space he is so often given, it would be a pleasure to engage him accordingly. This is not about freedom of opinion – of course he is entitled to his opinion but I wish he would show some maturity and not just take a contrary stance for the sake of it.He is a smart guy…maybe too smart for his own good. Seldom do I write in an insulting manner – on this one I make no apologies. I feel there is too much at stake and Desai seldom stirs constructive debate through how he write. If you dish it out – he needs to be prepared to take it back. I have been mild in my critique.