It’s been over a month since Spain was crowned victorious at the FIFA World Cup, and South Africa was applauded for their outstanding efforts hosting such a large-scale event, yet whilst we might slowly be forgetting the deafening sounds of the vuvuzela, let’s not forget how far South Africa is yet to come and let us remember the issues this sporting event drew to our attention.
I wanted to have a look at what’s been happening post World Cup – how the world’s biggest sporting event has impacted not just the nation of South Africa, yet the continent of Africa itself, and where campaigns such as 8 Goals for Africa are at now.
During my month in Africa, it was difficult to ignore or not see or hear something about the World Cup. South Africa 2010 was one of Africa’s proudest moments, as the continent not only showed their sporting prowess (Ghana in the Quarter Finals!!! Woohoo!) , yet showed a continent of proud and friendly people, working together towards the common goal of unity and prosperity. Yet the event was also a powerful medium for shedding light on the many issues which still plague South Africa and Africa itself.
As tourism boards worldwide urged travellers to bring lots of contraception if they wanted to have a fun yet safe time, I couldn’t help but think about the importance of these messages. Contraception wouldn’t just protect you from an unwanted pregnancy, but was in fact needed to prevent contraction of HIV/AIDS – widely prevalent in South Africa and an issue which should not be ignored though all the soccer fanatics have gone home.
South Africa sadly has the highest percentage of HIV cases in the world and though the World Cup accounted for 0.5% of South Africa’s GDP for 2010, the nation is still marred by a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, and it was often this image of wealth which was projected to the world during the month long event. Organisations such as The Global Fund, work to reduce HIV/AIDS rates, and have continued to work in South Africa after the World Cup. Visit the website to find out more about this initiative and how you can get involved, or watch the video below.
When the World Cup started I wrote a blog about a United Nations initiative called ‘8 Goals for Africa’. This movement has proudly continued after the World Cup and will go on to highlight the issues which still plague South Africa and encourage actions that you can take to be a part of this movement.
Currently, the movement is encouraging worldwide involvement in Stand Up weekend – an event which involves activities throughout the world between Friday September 17th and Sunday September 19th that stand up against poverty. You can find out more about Stand Up in Australia here. I’d encourage you to go to one of the events during the weekend, or why not start your own!
In a positive light, I believe that the World Cup gave Africans a sense of unity and confidence in their ability to achieve great things as a continent.
Yet let us not forget the road we have ahead of us in solving issues such as HIV/AIDS and poverty which limit and shorten the livelihoods of so many Africans.