Preparing for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, it was imperative to read every book possible that dealt with soccer and African history in an attempt to understand what to expect during this historic sporting event.
One book, More Than Just a Game: Soccer vs. Apartheid, The Most Important Soccer Story Ever Told, perfectly encapsulated that requirement:
There they suffered assaults by sadistic warders, who regarded them as subhuman, labored in a quarry under hideous conditions, and, beginning in the mid-60s, played soccer.
In “More Than Just A Game: Soccer vs. Apartheid: The Most Important Soccer Story Ever Told,’’ Chuck Korr and Marvin Close make the case that organizing and maintaining the prison soccer league increased the confidence, managerial skills, and morale of the inmates. Working together to convince the prison authorities that they should have the opportunity to build a proper field and to wear soccer uniforms rather than prison garb a couple of times a week helped the men to increase their sense of self-respect, and ultimately persuaded some of the guards and administrators to acknowledge the ingenuity, talents, and tenacity of the inmates. Perhaps more significantly, members of the various organizations dedicated to dismantling apartheid learned they could work together.
A review of this important book is forthcoming (as part of SBPDL’s towering multi-part preview of the South African World Cup), but one quotation from the book stood out from the rest as revealing the true character of the men who would one day rule South Africa:
“It was not football, rugby, or even athletics that brought such smiles to people’s faces but long-running games of Monopoly, a board game modeled on rapaciously acquisitive capitalism, here, ironically, played by men who, generally, strongly believe in socialism. One former inmate remembered that ‘no one could cheat as well at Monopoly as the political prisoners on Robben Island.”
Black men, especially the leaders of the Rainbow Nation, never engage in such duplicitous actions. Like Nelson Mandela, all leaders of South Africa have only numinous qualities – saintly even – and to print a rumor they cheated at Monopoly threatens to extinguish the hagiography of these courtly Black men.
Genteel and urbane Black leaders of South Africa – such as the ones who played soccer on Robben Island and engaged in crooked Monopoly dealings – are on the way out of power in South Africa. The new youth movement will ensure the policies of “land redistribution” (the stealing of white owned land and distributing it among the Black majority) that ruined Zimbabwe is enacted in South Africa:
The firebrand youth leader of South Africa’s ruling party, who has been tipped as the country’s next President, has praised Robert Mugabe’s land grab policy in Zimbabwe and compared himself to Nelson Mandela in an outspoken interview.
Julius Malema, who was disciplined by President Jacob Zuma for being 'out of control' by repeatedly singing anti-white songs and embarrassing the African National Congress, sought to defend his behaviour after being ordered to attend anger management classes and carry out community service.
In typically defiant tone, Mr Malema praised the eviction in Zimbabwe of almost 5,000 white farmers from their land in the last decade, although with a qualification that the policy ' was very good except the violent part of it'.
He added: 'In South Africa we must use the democratic means to redistribute the land.
'We've got a majority in parliament to make legislation that will give us power to expropriate land with compensation.'
Zimbabwe was once known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Africa for its ability to feed not only its own population but export large quantities of food to neighbouring countries.
Now, it relies on food aid and imports, a fact that appeared lost on Mr Malema who wore shirts printed with the face of Robert Mugabe during a recent visit.
Mr Malema is loathed by South Africa’s white population, who call him 'Kiddie Amin' in reference to Uganda’s former ruthless dicatator Idi Amin.
His latest outburst will further unsettle those who fear his growing influence and popularity within the all powerful ANC.
In an interview with the BBC, he refused to admit he had done anything wrong, and brushed aside the measures taken against him.
If you believe the film Invictus shows the real South Africa then you probably believe pigs fly. If Mandela dies before the World Cup (or during the soccer tournament), you will see the real South Africa unfold before your eyes and the new leaders don’t waste their time cheating at Monopoly.
That nation already has 19,000 murders a year, which The USA Today attributed to the sordid legacy of Apartheid:
When South Africa was named the host of next week's World Cup in 2004, the country was a decade into democracy.
South Africa was still recovering from 46 years of apartheid rule, which deprived its black majority of economic and political rights and left a legacy of violent crime. Skeptics said the country lacked the infrastructure, manpower and money to stage a secure tournament.
Six years later, the government and FIFA say the country is ready to welcome teams and fans from around the globe and, more important, will keep them safe. Organizers estimate 373,000 visitors will come for the World Cup.
"We are ready for any eventuality, from terrorism threats down to petty crime," South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Vish Naidoo said.
South Africa has poured $180 million into World Cup security preparations, according to SAPS. That includes $89 million on equipment such as helicopters, water cannons, patrol vehicles and body armor.
While South Africa's murder rate has declined since 2004, it is eight times higher than that of the USA. In Gauteng, a province that's home to 10.5 million people and the World Cup host cities Johannesburg and Pretoria, there were 1,940 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in 2008. The violent crime rate in Michigan, which has a similar population, was nearly one-fourth that number.
While crime in South Africa is commonly portrayed in media reports as an attack against the white minority, much of the violence is confined to townships, underdeveloped areas on the peripheries of the city.
Still, there is a fear that criminals will prey on foreigners in the host cities. Naidoo said the main deterrent to petty crime will be increased visibility of police.
The nation is not run by the white people whose ancestors settled in the sparsely populated region that became South Africa anymore. No, South Africa is heading to the finality of Zimbabwe, but in a much more painful trajectory. It is a Black run nation and in Black hands does it crumble.
And to think, the characters whom helped it all came about cheated at Monopoly.