Saturday, June 12, 2010

Newsy: World Cup a Turning Point for Africa?

The stage is set for the worlds largest sporting event, the World Cup. This year to be held in South Africa. And as many are pointing out, this may be a turning point for the nation and the continent.
There has been much anticipation and preparation leading up to the opening match, and the host nation is in full World Cup fever.
As a writer for the Christian Science Monitor points out, this is a South Africa that the world hasn't seen before: "The South Africa that will go on display this month is a country that has completed its transformation from a racist pariah state into a multicultural majority-led state, with many of the accouterments of a European first-world powerhouse. It is a country that has achieved much in little time."
Six African nations are set to compete in the tournament and have an entire continent's hopes on their backs.
But a Malawi writer for the Huffington Post says it doesn't really matter if an African team wins the world cup or not, because the continent as a whole has already won: "Africa will win, in ways that are incalculable... In ways perhaps coming generations might look back and thank us for. ... [W]here different people across the country look towards the camera and smile and say 'I was there.'"
The author of bestseller "Invictus" agrees, telling Al Jazeera, change will come... just not overnight: "Whatever is gonna to happen in this country, for better or for worse is gonna be gradual. There isn't gonna be some instant boom, but I think a sense of national pride, a sense of hope, a sense of you know we did the World Cup, we are potentially a world class nation is something which can infuse, can provide a new energy for the country."
But Kenya's Daily Nation says, no matter how long it takes, this event will make history for Africa. The magazine quotes one of South Africa's former presidents, Thabo Mbeki: “We want, on behalf of our continent, to stage an event that will send ripples of confidence in our land. We want to ensure that one day historians will reflect upon the 2010 World Cup as a moment when Africa stood tall and resolutely turned the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict.”
So what do you think? Will the World Cup be Africa's turning point?
WRITER: Kelly Chase

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