Rubber bullets, ear worms, the embarrassing opportunism of trade unions, Shakira’s trademark hip swivel and a little baby called Fifa. The Daily Maverick rounds up the week’s global media reporting on what’s been happening off the field.
The World Cup has offered significant leverage to trade unions who have used the 2010 global stage to “negotiate” better wages, or else. International media say most tourists who came to South Africa feared crime, when in reality they should have been worried about crippling strikes. Most strikes have been averted, and The Daily Maverick wonders how much of the increased labour bill taxpayers will have to foot. One strike that wasn’t averted was a security strike at stadiums that saw rubber bullets ricocheting about and clashes in full view of global television cameras.
The World Cup Local Organising Committee, obviously taking PR cues from BP, denied being responsible for remuneration rates paid to contracted security company Stallion Security. Interestingly enough, Stallion is the same group that was responsible for security at Ellis Park in April 2001 when 43 people died in a stampede.
The Mail & Guardian predicted security would be an issue for this World Cup after the utter disaster at the Confederation Cup, and a tip off about shady LOC security tenders from an undisclosed source. The M&G may as well be saying “I told you so”.
The glory and the grief. A country of stark contrasts, the story that captured the emotional contrasts of this past week was that of the Mandela family in mourning. Amid vibrant fan and sporting pictures, the international media was sombrely studded with photos of a frail Nelson Mandela paying his last respects to his beloved great-granddaughter Zenani (13), who died in a car crash on her way home from the World Cup opening concert. As South Africa and the world celebrated the start of the greatest sport spectacle in the world, a desolate Mandela watched photographs of himself and his favourite great-grandchild projected on a screen at her funeral.
Enough’s been said about that long fan-plastic horn. God forbid that The Daily Maverick adds more hot air to the issue.
Read more: Salon
According to The Wall Street Journal, there are going to be clear World Cup losers and they’re not going to be Bafana Bafana or South African taxpayers. Employers should be quietly crying into their morning espresso because productivity is going to fall through the floor during the Fifa’s football fiesta. “In the UK, productivity losses tied to the World Cup could total just under £1 billion ($1.45 billion), according to a survey by the Chartered Management Institute. Just over half of working men and 21% of working women intend to watch the matches scheduled to take place during office hours as they happen, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP survey of 1,000 UK workers,” reports the WSJ. The Daily Maverick expects the South African situation to be much worse because most locals will spend much of their time hunting down Bafana Bafana players to draw and quarter them.
Read more: The Wall Street Journal
“If you get down, get up oh oh… When you get down, get up eh eh… Tsamina mina zangalewa anawa aa. This time for Africa.” You’ve got to agree that Waka Waka, the 2010 “national anthem”, grows on you. Kind of like a planter’s wart grows on the bottom of your foot. An earworm mixed with cringing patrimony, Salon’s quite right when they say it’s the worst World Cup song. Ever. Not even Freshlyground or Shakira’s trademark hip swivel could save it.
Read more: Salon
Soccer news, predictably, was one of the top performing stories on The Huffington Post. The match showdown was Germany against Brazil. If you can’t remember the game or the score, don’t worry – it’s hardly relevant. What mattered at this match was that the players were all body painted porn stars. Caveat lector – some of the photographs are fairly risqué which is probably why the story drove thousands of tweets, comments as well as Facebook shares and “likes”.
See more: The Huffington Post
Other soccer-playing women who have captured global media attention are the Vakhegula Vakhegula soccer team. With a team name that literally means “grannies grannies”, these players range in age from 49 to 84. The “gogos” are currently raising funds after news of their soccer prowess reached the US and they were invited to play in Lancaster, Massachusetts.
Read more: New York Times
Finally, the 2010 World Cup will leave a more lasting impression on some than on others. None more so than baby Fifa Ntshinga who was named after football’s infamous organisation when she was born 10 minutes after the kick-off in the first match that saw Bafana Bafana draw with Mexico. Little Fifa was born at Rahima Moosa Hospital in Johannesburg. If you think hers is an unfortunate choice of name, it could be worse. Her parents could have called her Sepp.
By Mandy de Waal