June 10, 2010

World Cup 2010 for Dummies - Part IX - It's in South Africa

  • South Africa is a country (one of my English students did not know this)
  • 49 million people live in South Africa
  • Jacob Zuma is the President of a black majority government
  • Pretoria is the executive capital
  • The South African constitution is one of the most progressive legislatures in the world (discrimination is banned on gender, age, race, belief, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation and culture)
  • first country to perform a heart transplant in 1967
  • it's the 7th richest country in the world (90% of platinum reserves, 40% of gold reserves)
  • it is the first country on the African continent to host a major event like this.

Behind the shiny new toys ($15 billion worth of new stadiums and infrastructure) the World Cup has brought: 43% of the population lives on about $2 a day. It's safe to say most of them are not white. The majority of the black population live in abysmal poverty. 350 years of white supremacist rule and 50 plus years of apartheid have left deep, deep scars.

The nation is struggling. Hopefully struggling in the right direction. And may the World Cup bring South Africa the luck needed to persevere.

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