So is there life after the world cup?
I must say it was a little depressing. The world cup gees seemed as powerful a drug as alcohol and nicotine. From an economic perspective, the financial markets had factored the post-world cup hangover into its forecasts for months. Any post world cup babelaas was thus always going to be purely sentimental.
So late on Monday the 12th July, the empty streets of Melrose Arch felt sentimentally sad. The Melrose Arch “city in a city”, had become an impromptu world cup node with its piazzas, massive TV screens and late night entertainment. Seeing throngs of soccer mad foreigners and locals hanging around its sidewalk cafes, trendy bars and buzzing restaurants really epitomised the sheer energy of the world’s most exciting sporting event. The day after the game, that vibe disappeared speedily as the last foreigners hoped onto planes bound Amsterdam and Madrid.
And now the party is over and the reckoning has arrived. The couple of post mortems on TV have been enthusiastic, but now we face issues that were muted by football euphoria.
The real test now is to see whether government, business and general society can build schools, hospitals and institutions like it built soccer stadiums, airports and roadways. We all know that if a FIFA court can convict a fellow in three days for encountering David Beckham in a changeroom, then our criminal justice system can deal with murderers, hijackers and xenophobes on the same basis. It is obvious that if we can timeously build monsterous stadiums and airports with better-than-Germanic efficiency, then we can put up schools, toilets, houses and municipal facilities at the same pace.
So if our people have proven that we have the ability to deal with any project, the difficult question is whether we have the collective will to embark on such projects?
The ultimate question is whether we need an organisation like FIFA to ram such unexciting project down our throats, or whether we just lack the energy to deal with unsexy undertakings as toilets, courts or police stations?
Me thinks, that if we can quickly transfer our passion for glitzy stadiums into vital projects, then we can grow this nation with the energy, passion and precision that will really bring about South Africa’s long term renaissance.