The 11th of July has passed. The 2010 FIFA World Cup is sadly over as is Wonkie’s brief holiday. The football tournament was successfully hosted for the first time on the African continent and it was done so with style. South Africa has left its mark on the world as being both willing and capable to host the largest of global events. The vuvuzela will quite likely leave its mark on English vocabulary the world over – they were even being blown in full force in Vancouver at the other end of the world while matches were broadcast on a closed-off downtown street there. For many abroad, this event has literally put South Africa on their mental map.
Wonkie hopes that the legacy of the World Cup will be a lasting one for South Africa. The unifying effect of sport was once again clearly demonstrated as it was during the Rugby World Cup tournament in 1995. People of all races enjoying games together – cheering, crying, blowing their plastic trumpets, singing hand-on-heart to national anthems, enjoying the roller-coaster of emotions as the match results unfolded. For those that witnessed any of it first-hand it will certainly be remembered in the once in a lifetime category of experience.
While the softer social benefits are clear, much of the harder economic benefits still needs to be realised. The tournament has cost the country dearly to the tune of an estimated R38 billion. The South African government insists that this is also roughly the value of the economic benefit so the country would break even. South Africa will also benefit from the upgraded transport infrastructure and hopefully not soon-to-be-useless world-class stadiums for years to come.
Interestingly enough, South Africa already optimistically placed its bid for the 2020 Olympics before the 2010 cost-benefit analysis is completed. The question on Wonkie’s mind is not one of capability, but one of sensibility. Hosting world sporting events has great (and hopefully lasting) social benefits but is this the best bang for buck for the majority of South Africans? Perhaps Paul the Octopus who accurately predicted the outcome of 8 out of 8 games all the way through to the final game result can help answer that question with his psychic powers. At this point Wonkie believes most South Africans can use their own psychic powers to easily predict whether any of the ministers in the presidency will actually deliver anything of value in the next year.