The Commonwealth Hunger Games

2015-09-17 08:52

Durban recently won the rights to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after Edmonton, Canada pulled out of the bidding to avoid financial strains. Contrary to South African student movements calling for the decolonisation of our institutions, the decision to host the Commonwealth games, is cited with the intent of “youth empowerment”. The Commonwealth Games, originally called the British Empire Games from 1930-1950, consists of 53 countries that were colonised or dependencies of Britain, together with a few independent states. Queen Elizabeth ? serves as the monarch of the Commonwealth, as a symbol of the Realm, with no political or executive influence. Following World War ?, European influence declined and the decolonisation of British Empires began. In order to reform the relationships between Britain and the newly independent countries, the Commonwealth of Nations was born. The Commonwealth Games, hosted every 4 years, became an event showcasing the goodwill and understanding between members of the British Empire. By using the popular Hunger Games series as an analogy for South Africa’s involvement in the Commonwealth, a different perspective of the Games and the Commonwealth institution is considered. The Games finally extended their goodwill and entertainment value to all participating districts in 2014. Before then the broadcasting of the Games was limited to the host district, the Capitol and a few selected international broadcasters. The district chosen to host the Games for 2022 is Durban, South Africa - a district rich in natural resources, botany and wildlife. District SA is now tasked with upgrading and developing infrastructure in preparation for hosting the bourgeoisie from the Capitol, and other member districts. While excitement for the Games peaks in the Capitol, the people of district SA remain sombre. At a time of dire unemployment and bleak economic growth, the funding of the Games, currently estimated at R6.4 billion, has come under scrutiny. Evictions and removals of local residents are required in order to create an atmosphere to the standard of the Capitol. The sight of poverty, vendors making a living and unruly local district residents is an eye sore to the people of the civilised British district. The Games are an attraction to wealthy individuals which, excludes majority of district SA from participating. However, the Capitol states the objectives of the Commonwealth is to eradicate poverty and disease, to create equal districts as a unified nation. In addition to this, the youth of district SA have had enough. The youth have begun a revolt against the Capitol and the superiority of colonial powers. Their calls for decolonisation and a change in district culture are adverse to the expectations of the Games. District Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 following a suspension during their 2002 elections. Gambia soon followed suit in 2013 due to their decision to no longer be affiliated with colonial institutions. The rebellion against the Capitol by districts Zimbabwe and Gambia has left their districts as underground survivors. The Capitol has created a perception of inferiority among these traitor districts and use the revolts as examples of negligence to the Capitol. On the other hand, there are many who still see the hosting of the event as an honour. There is the expectation of high volumes of tourism and the chance of hosting the Olympic Games in the future. The focus is on creating social cohesion with the Capitol and other districts whilst, improving equality and economic prospects. However, as seen with district India in New Delhi, following the hosting of the 2010 Games, the cost went 16 times over their budget which, erupted in political turmoil and has left their district in disarray. District India, similar to district SA, has growing poverty levels, inequality and starvation. The Capitol - a developed district with accelerating economic growth, obesity and diabetes - requires the investment from other districts to fund and host their Games to their standard. The Queen, in her palace, ordained in jewels, gives no thought to the political and financial destruction left after the Games. Districts are expected to compete for their share of the gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as, show their allegiance to the Capitol in hosting them, in order to gain the respect and dignity of their coloniser. The Hunger Games are a daily reality to many South Africans. District SA has volunteered to host the Games here as a playground for the Capitol to experience our reality, at our expense. South Africa is unable to reverse their decision to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The only hope is that we can deliver an event that meets global expectations. May your odds be ever in our favour...

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