For the millions in South Africa who don’t have tickets to watch the FIFA World Cup matches, there are many different public gathering spots to view the action. And the bonus is the entertainment.
The Wharf in Cape Town is a magnet for tourists and locals all year round, so you can imagine how busy it is these days. They’ve installed a giant screen in the center of a plaza, and it’s a popular spot from noon till midnight to watch the matches. A big bonus is at halftime, and between matches, when the street performers start to play. These grizzled jazz veterans are my favorites to date.
Around the corner from these players, a group of dancers were strutting their stuff. I didn’t get a chance to speak with them, so I’m not clear about the roots of their dance. However, I believe they are Xhosa.
The yellow Bafana Bafana t-shirt is easily the most popular in South Africa these days, so it’s no surprise to see the dancers add it on to their traditional garb. This group was having so much fun, constantly smiling as they performed several numbers manifesting sexual attraction and courting.
There’s a joy about dance and music that is infectious, and a chance to share in it is a unique halftime bonus when following a soccer match.
A lot has been written about ticket distribution and availability for the “average” South African (read poor). And it’s true that at the Cape Town stadium, I have not seen may blacks at the matches. The costs of a ticket and transportation are way out of reach for just about everyone living on a township. But that doesn’t mean average South Africans aren’t feeling connected to the World Cup. There is a pride that is surging through the people whom I’ve met, and those that I see on television and listen to on the radio.
There are many different gathering spots to watch the matches, including the officially FIFA sponsored Fan Zones. There are also informal gathering places. And as I’ve written, the halftime distractions are often a bonus.