Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hup Holland Hup!

Well, today is the World Cup Final! Whoever wins, it's been a superb win for South Africa and indeed the continent. The overwhelming majority of news out of the continent up to now has been sad - poverty, famine, bad governance - but there always has been another side that the developed world has been slow to appreciate: the magnificent fortitude, ingenuity, persistence and warmth of its people. And these days Africa is taking off economically and politically. South Africa indeed with its excellent regulation regime escaped the financial meltdown that has struck Europe and North America. Thabo Mbeki hoped for an African Renaissance and it looks as though it's starting to happen. This hugely successful World Cup tournament finishing in South Africa today is an indication that Africa is indeed on its way. For the first time is what seems like forever, the entire world is focused on a happy, joyful event which has been staged and managed superbly well. Having grown up there, I know what a massive jolt of confidence and pride this is giving all South Africans and I am very happy about that.

I'm going to be supporting Holland in the finals today - I think it would be a pleasing result regarding Holland's lengthy relationship with South Africa, and Holland has never won before (neither has Spain, though).

Last week I watched the semi finals in a pub in Soho with my flickr friend Charles Roffey. De Hems just off London's Chinatown is the official Dutch pub in London - and has been for over a hundred years! One always learns something new about London. The pub was mobbed by huge crowds of thrilled Dutch supporters. Charles was interviewed by Winkball.

Wishing all those Dutch supporters the thrill of a lifetime this afternoon!

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