Has South Africa Made A Lasting Mark On The World?

July 2, 2010 10:30 am

Amongst the many foreign soccer supporters and people travelling to South Africa for the World Cup, Paris Hiltonand Leo DiCaprio were recently added to the list of celebrities that have touched-down on S.A. soil. This begs the question: Would anyone have considered travelling to S.A. if it hadn’t been for the world cup?

Many people are unaware of the history and beauty of South Africa, and still believe that it is undeveloped like the rest of Africa, with elephants and lions roaming in their back yards. However, hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup has provided S.A. with the unique opportunity to show the world its true beauty, modernized cities, culture and sites of its vibrant land.

A handful of celebrities have turned to their Twitter pages to describe how wonderful their South African experience has been:

“I am very sad 2 b leaving the gorgeous S.Africa! Thank u 2 all 4 ur luv and kindness! We’ll b back very, very soon! Team Fabulosity SA rocks.”  -Kimora Lee Simons

“The people in South Africa are kind, loving and peaceful…can’t believe Apartheid was only 20 years ago…and now the world is here…amazing.”  -Will.i.am.

“South Africa rocks, this is the place to be.”  -Akon

“Thank You S. Africa!!”  -R. Kelly

“Back in Jozi. Thanks Durbs and Cape Town for the magic hospitality.”  -E’s Sal Masekela

Who is going to be the next star to visit South Africa, and will they see more of South Africa than just a soccer game? Has South Africa finally made its mark on the world? I believe so. Not only has South Africa become a popular holiday destination, but movie directors are looking to the shores and landmarks of South Africa to film movies and utilize what S.A. has to offer. Halle Berry is due to move to South Africa for a three-month period to shoot a movie from July until September. South African born actress, Charlize Theron is also expected to make an appearance in the up-coming weeks.

Since the opening of the Soccer World Cup, the celebrities have been streaming in. Prince William and Prince Harry of England, Princess Takamado of Japan and Spanish Crown Prince Felipe of Asturias are representing royalty in S.A.

Joe Jonas, Mick Jagger, Reggie Bush, John Travolta, Kimora Lee Simmons and her husband Cameroon-born actor Dijimon Hounsou have all been spotted in and around S.A. Also adding to the list is Survivor Africa winnerEthan Zohn and U.S. Soccer Legend Alexi Lallas.

On the business front, Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, and Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich, have visited.

With a constant increase in foreign visitors, S.A. is bound to benefit from all the tourism, even though it will never match the costs that were spent in preparation for the World Cup. Through the World Cup, S.A. has also been able to draw a vast amount of attention to rampant issues that Africa, as a whole, has been facing for many years, and is still facing on a daily basis.

Econometrix analyst, Tont Twine explained, “I think in the longer term we will see definite assistance to economic growth simply because of the global market exposure that the South African economy is enjoying at the moment.”

Joe Jonas started off his travels in Maun, Botswana, Africa. “I brought some of my best friends with me to be a part of this incredible experience. We were all changed by what we saw,” he shared. He posted on his twitter, “I have seen some amazing things, met some wonderful people, tried some tasty foods, and been inches from HUGE lions. I have also experienced new cultures like I have never seen before.”

People that have the opportunity to travel, not only to S.A., but also to other African countries, will hopefully be able to report back on what the conditions are, and ultimately create awareness that will potentially save lives.

As a resident of South Africa, I firmly believe that South Africa really needed this World Cup. We needed the attention and the support. We needed people to see past all the negative portrayals of South Africa that are often shown in the media. Before the World Cup began, S.A. was dealing with a countless number of internal problems, which were creating rifts among the people, but the World Cup changed all that.

The meaning behind the World Cup was that of bringing people together and it’s my belief that by displaying all that South Africa has to offer, with its multiple races, 11 languages, and different creeds, unity and support were realized, despite all the hardships from the past. S.A. is showing the world what it means to be truly ‘UNITED,’ a lesson that we can all be reminded of, and an act that will have lasting effects on the people of South Africa.

Kerryn Du Toit, a student in South Africa, explains to us what this World Cup has done for her:

“It’s putting South Africa on the world map. We always just get generalized as Africa[ns] and people do not know the true meaning and beauty of this country! This event has brought many people here from all corners of the world and they finally get to see what we see: The beloved country, we call SA. It’s shown me that even though there are rifts between cultures, with this one event, the World Cup has brought everyone together and everyone has been proud to stand tall and together to support our country.” Jabu Mzimela, of South Africa, tells us that South Africa hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup has “given me something to aspire towards.” Michelle Fourie, a stewardess in South Africa explains, “A country that has had a hard past can strive forward for a beautiful and united future.”

One South African man, Muhammed Minty, describes the effects of South Africa hosting the World Cup in one word: “Ubuntu,” which is a Nguni word which has no direct translation into English, but is used to describe a particular African worldview, in which people can only find fulfillment through interacting with other people. Thus, it represents a spirit of kinship across, both, race and creed, which unites mankind to a common purpose.

South Africa has definitely made its mark on 2010 and has used this opportunity to its fullest extent. S.A. has even come up with their own “soccer dance” for the 2010 Soccer World Cup called the, “Diski Dance.” The dance has been used around schools and universities and taught to children, adults and the elderly all over the country.

Much like the still silence after any big event is over, South Africa will soon be on the comedown from the World Cup. The big question remains if people will continue to flock to S.A. once the publicity is over. I certainly hope so. People will certainly be missing out on an incredible place and incredible experiences if they do not.