By Rebecca Emiru, South Africa (TsehaiNY.com) – They’ve only played twice so far, but whenever they take the field, there’s an outpouring of support and joy. Even moderate football fans find themselves decked out in yellow and green and grabbing every vuvuzela and flag in the house so that they can show their pride as they watch the game at the FIFA Fan Fest or their favorite bar. Wednesday night was no exception.
I took a minibus taxi to the city center and walked the easy distance to the Fan Fest while Switzerland was still playing Spain. After the surprising result of that match, my friends and I moved towards the front of the crowd so that we would be in prime position to watch South Africa and Uruguay play, making sure to avoid standing behind tall people with big curly afro-wigs in the colors of the South African flag or pimped out hard hats. In the interim, we were taught how to do the Diski Dance- a dance from Cape Town that consists of football moves like the header, the pass, and a few South African goodies like the Table Mountain, and the Shosholoza Train. Afterwards we were entertained by Loyiso, who is very much like Neyo in appearance, dress, and musical style. Meanwhile, the sun went down, the lights at the base of nearby Table Mountain were lit, and the stage was set.
When the two teams finally took the pitch, the atmosphere was electric and the vuvuzelas were blaring. Those who knew the South African national anthem sang along at the top of their lungs, while visitors like me sang the few lines we knew like the famous, dignified opening, “Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica” (God bless Africa) and the triumphant ending, “in South Africa our laaaaaaand!” Unfortunately, our expectations were dampened at the 24th minute, dashed at the 80th minute, and completely annihilated in additional time as each goal from Uruguay made South Africa’s advance into the round of 16 less and less likely.
At the end of the game, the Fan Fest emptied quickly as the Bafana, Bafana faithful left to sleep off the sadness or drown their sorrows. Despite the disappointing night, the World Cup continues and new favorites will be found.
Bafana, Bafana still has at least one more game to play, and while fans expectations may not be as high as they were last week, South Africa is still behind the boys.