In the early hours of the icy morning of 11 June 2010 – 4 years ago today – the sound of vuvuzelas in the street below made a grand announcement and before I could open my eyes, I said to myself ”It’s here!” After years of eager anticipation, the 2010 FIFA World Cup had arrived – for the first time on the African continent – and it is one of those moments that I will never forget.
South Africa had come alive with an indescribable excitement that seemed to be bursting out of every corner of the country, as people from all over the world poured in to see the greatest show on earth – it felt like one big, colourful carnival.
I have incredibly happy memories of those four weeks. Almost every day we made an attempt to go out and savour the atmosphere and one of my favourite moments was going to a match with my sister on one of the coldest nights of the year. I remember nothing about the game itself. I don’t even remember who won. Just being in that stadium and having the experience of being at a World Cup match with my sister was magical.
I know that there is a lot of controversy around the World Cup, about the legacy that it did or did not leave. I know that it did not benefit those that really needed benefiting in the ways that it should have and that saddens me. I can’t help thinking though, that in some way, it showcased the better, brighter side of South Africa and our beautiful people and we had the opportunity to prove that we could pull it off – despite the pessimistic predictions.
For me, it was full of magical memories that will live in my heart forever and I am watching the build up in Brazil with warm nostalgia and some envy.