Today’s Random High five can go to no other thing, but the memory of the FIFA World Cup kickoff. 365 days ago.
I know I am not alone when I say that my heart aches when I remember that crisp sunny winter’s day: 11 June 2010. People were teeming the streets, I heard the echo of vuvuzelas from my Greenpoint apartment from about 5am solid, throughout the morning. Taxi drivers leaned out of their open doors, blowing vuvuzelas. People with SA flag capes were patrolling the streets like patriotic superheroes and high-fives were abounding.
Words like, “Ayoba” and “Make the circle Beega” could get a whole crowd cheering, come rain or shine – we were out, we were partying and we were full of ‘Gees’.
The most epic memory I have. Hands down (Low five?) is Tshabalala’s opening goal. It goes in the top 5 epic memories of my entire life. Maybe top 1.
I had been working like a demon, for the City of Cape Town, organising the Fanfest and FanParks and working with FIFA – so the kickoff day was a high stress, all systems go, kinda ordeal. I managed to get away, just in time – using my VIP backstage pass, I was able to get into the VERY PACKED Cape Town Grand Parade FanFest.
I stood there in the crowds, by myself- but very much not alone. Part of the nation, the planet. To my right was a group of Afrikaans rugby looking guys, In front of me a huge group of foreigners (Americans, Dutch, Danish) to my left was a group of local black dudes and behind a group of Capetonian Coloured guys. Every kind of person. And me. The little blue-eyed girl. Together.
We cheered together. Waved our flags together. Jumped to waka-waka together. Stood proud and sang the National Anthem together. Then we held our breath together as the kickoff passed and Mexico started playing… very well! -Reminding us that this was still a competition. And Bafana Bafana, our boys in yellow and green, were in the deep end.
But then. Oh you all remember where you were, and what you were doing. Tshabalala broke away, he hooked that ball (forgive my lack of football terminology) and it sailed into the net. Just. Like. That.
WHAM. I swear, I often think if NASA had been watching SA from space, you would have seen the whole country flicker into a cacophony of rainbow coloured flags, vuvuzelas being blown or thrown into the air and people hugging, rejoicing and of course: Randomly high-fiving strangers.
All around me people turned toward eachother. I got lifted onto someone’s shoulders, I hugged a dozen more. Foreigners hugging Afrikaaners hugging Xhosas, Whites, Coloureds, South Africans. Africans. I screamed and jumped so hard that I saw blackness and almost fainted (Truestory). All of this joy, humanity and equality. On the Grand Parade. Where Madiba made his speech 15 years before – of equality, tolerance and acceptance. I believe the echo of that memory was smiling down at the country full of cheers, hope and high-fives. Proudly waving our flag and singing Nkosi Sikilela.
I found this Youtube of the Joburg fanpark witnessing that goal:
I miss the World Cup. I met Cameroonians, Ghanaians, Algerians. We partied together, we got to know each other’s histories, each other’s flags and blew vuvuzelas together as we marched along the fan walk.
Ayoba. It was here.
Blow your vuvuzelas and give someone a random *High Five*
(I’m trying to publish a video of my own footage of the Fanfest, But my computer wants to play with it’s life and is not rendering it. Here is a youtube of Tshabalala’s goal in the meantime. I will upload my video asap.)