I’m been trying to think of what to say about the World Cup now that it’s over.
In many ways that’s very similar to how I and many South Africans feel now: after a month of intense concentration on the World Cup and months of build up, we’re at a loss as to what to do now. We have to watch, talk about, and think about other things. But what else is there to talk about. The year’s biggest rugby competition isn’t providing enough distraction.
When people talk about the World Cup now, much of the energy is spent talking about the pride South Africans feel. South Africa hosted without major incident, visitors enjoyed the country, and the event went smoothly. The people that I’ve talked to are enormously proud of that.
There’s also talk of the gees—the spirit—that the World Cup brought. Many saw a united South Africa for the first time. For a month, people were just people and South Africa was, at least temporarily, that post-racial, post-class idealized society one dreams of.
But, in the end, South Africa is still a highly unequal society in economic terms and I don’t see how the newly found utopia can survive with such unfortunate realities. South Africa will always have the World Cup, though, and that view of what this country can be.