It did not take me long to realize that when some one says "twenty-ten" they are referring specifically to the upcoming soccer world cup hosted by South Africa in June of 2010. From the moment I arrived in Cape Town, I have heard comments and debates about the upcoming world cup. On the drive back from the airport, my hosts commented on how the airport has become SO confusing and there are too many roads -- the airport, and the roads to and from it, are being worked on and improved upon for the impending rush of soccer fanatics.
I wanted to share some of the pros and cons I have heard. Truthfully, I was shocked and surprised by much of what I heard and the varying ways the world cup will effect South Africa. I had thought about the increase in revenue - it will be such a wonderful boost for the economy - it will offer jobs and bring tons of tourist to the area. On the other hand there will probably be an increase in violence and theft - but beyond that, I had not thought much further.
First, check out some pics of the new stadium in Cape Town (at night with the lights on!)
The Stadium was built to have sound-reducing panels that will decrease the sound that the surrounding neighborhoods can hear - the Stadium is in Green Point, close to the city center.
So, back to the pros and cons:
- One con that I was particulary surprised about and perhaps should have thought about, is the increase in human traffricking. While meeting with a Priest in Lavendar Hill - a nearby TownShip, the anglican Priest was explaining that there already has been an increase of women and children brought into the country (and hidden away for now) to meet the demands of the large numbers of male tourists. Likewise, there is a fear in communities that children will be put at danger
-Children will be on break from school during the world cup and most parents will be continuing to work. So, who is going to supervise these children and keep them safe? At a recent Diocesan Meeting, one woman suggested creating massive soccer games in high risk, highly populated areas. However, who is going to run and supervise these games? And, what about the kids who don't live in those specific areas.
-According to one of my new South African Friends, infrastructure, may be the only positive thing coming out of the World Cup. In preparation for the large number of tourists, roads have been improved upon and new transit systems have been put into place. During the Apartheid era, there was only one road in and one road out of black and colored neighborhoods, so that the government could easily keep people in. Almost everytime I drive someplace, I see roads being built and widened.
-Another plus, South Africa is far enough away from other countries, that most visitors will stay not only for the world cup, but will also take this time to travel and get to see the country. People will most likely stay in the country for a couple of weeks to a month.
-SO, along with that, the world cup is offering a lot of jobs to a lot of people: Building roads, hotels, etc. As well as an increase in the need for service positions -- food servers, cleaners, etc.
-But, what will happen when the world cup is over? And the jobs are gone? According to a friend of mine, the government has not put any money or thought into the aftermath - to the social services that will be needed. Will there be children and women who will need counseling? Will there be more people in need of jobs?
I haven't done any research into this myself. I just wanted to share what I have been hearing! I'm sure there are many more pros and cons - I will keep you updated if I hear anything more and of course, will report back with the reaction to the actual event and aftermath! We can only wait and see!!