Pride of the 2010 builders

2010-06-11 00:00

AFTER the dust, rain and years of hard work, Ernest Khumalo and Tyson Thusi cannot wait to take their “supportive” wives for a tour inside the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the King Shaka Airport that they helped to build.

These two construction workers from Stanger said that they are now “kings” in their hometown. Ernest Khumalo said that his name will reign supreme among generations to come, even after he is long gone.

“I am grateful that my family is proud of me. Every time I pass by the stadium or the airport my wife brags, and you could see that she is proud of the man that I have become,” he said.

He said that he hopes the experience inspires his children and other community members to venture into things that build the nation rather than destroying it.

“The dissatisfaction of workers was seen through the strikes, but I am glad we can now look back and reminisce on whatever hardships we experienced. The strike itself taught me to be patient.

“I am proud that at home I am regarded as a hero. All I need to do is take my wife on a plane and show her the whole world. As long as the stadiums are still standing, my name in my family will live forever,” he said.

Khumalo’s colleague Tyson Thusi said the stadium and the airport enable him to measure his potential and strength. He stressed that South Africans need to take pride in the construction field, no matter their professional levels.

“This miraculous experience has taught me that South Africans have great potential towards making South Africa a first world country. We have the ability to produce world-renowned engineers. We should earn our pride and believe in ourselves,” he said.

Thusi said that he cannot wait to surprise his wife with a soccer match ticket between Nigeria and South Korea and a plane trip to Johannesburg for lunch. “She has supported me through everything, so why not share history with her?” he asked.

More than 25 000 construction workers across the country were rewarded two tickets each for their work as part of FIFA’s Ticket Fund. With the latter, 120 000 complementary category tickets are being issued out to social and development initiatives and individuals behind the 2010 World Cup.

Quantity surveyor S’ne Biyela said that the Moses Mabhida project enabled her to pay for her three sisters’ school fees and buy herself a decent car. “My sisters are interested in my career path and take me as their role model,” she said.

Recently, it has been reported that the National Union of Mine Workers urged all construction workers who helped build the World Cup stadia countrywide to contact their former employees for the collection of their tickets.

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