Max du Preez

The dream is not dead

2010-06-02 12:00

It is not my imagination. The deep national depression is actually lifting as we get closer to the World Cup.

It’s been a time of great negativity, the last few months. If it wasn’t potholes or broken sewerage works, it was Julius Malema’s runaway mouth, violent service delivery protests, militant trade union strikes, Eugene Terre’Blanche’s murder and an apparent growth in right wing organisations preparing for Armageddon.

I saw the first thawing at the Super 14 semi-final between the Bulls and the Crusaders at Orlando Stadium two weeks ago: a wave of goodwill and a new sense of wonder at the magic of this nation.

When I saw fris Boere ooms all around me decked in blue with horns on their heads blowing the vuvuzelas and sharing long beers with local Sowetans, I knew our dream of a better South Africa wasn’t dead.

(Another thought I had at the time: I wished those losers who predict that whites are going to be slaughtered at the “Night of the Long Knives” the day after Nelson Mandela dies, could also be in Soweto to watch the rugby and the people and realise what fools they are.)

I have been very low on Bafana Bafana the last few years. I thought they were useless and clueless and didn’t make a nation such as ours proud.

But they’ve been clawing their way back and at every one of the friendly games (eleven of them, and no defeat) they’ve played recently, a new ray of hope was shining into in my heart.

On Tuesday I watched Carlos Alberto Parreira on television with the announcement of the 23-man squad and my hopes gave a quantum leap.

I’m not harbouring hopes that Bafana Bafana could win the competition, but if we could just go through to the second round we should be deeply proud and celebrate as if they had won.

Don’t forget, they are ranked 82nd in the world… If the tournament goes smoothly without major traffic or stadium hiccups or bombs or serious incidents of crime and our national team goes through to the next round, I would say all the expense was more than worth it.

Because I’m sure the pipe dreams of a year ago that the World Cup would bring us jobs and make us rich have long disappeared.

Now we should just hope that it is a good advertisement for our country and a boost for our morale.

Let’s face it; we have been extremely low on hope lately. And hope has always been the oil that lubricated our troubled nation.

I have always been very against the vuvuzela, because I really can’t stand loud noise. But let me tell you, a whole stadium full, like at Orlando Stadium, is not noise, it is sweet music.

Embrace the vuvuzela, embrace Bafana Bafana, and go get your mirror socks (aren’t they awful? I’m also getting them) and your aerial flag - enjoy the soccer festival!

And repeat after me: the dream is not dead.

PS. Can’t we give that man Parreira the Order of the Boabab or is it the Order of the Thornbush or something? He’s a special man, clearly in love with his team and with our country - and we couldn’t have done better for a coach.

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