There's a deserved better life beyond the games people play
THE 2010 Fifa World Cup passed as though it was a dream. The ending was a confirmation of that modest, but lifelong, vernacular saying: okungapheli kuyahlola - that which never ends is a curse.
The joys it generated on and off the field was a celebration of life itself.
Anyone who saw it was glad to have been alive, to experience the joys of it and to tell about its exhilarating magic.
Topping that magic were the silent multitudinous wishes of the people of the world for former president Nelson Mandela to see it, live it too and mark his 92nd birthday, eight days after, with a smile and gentle wave.
For 31 days humanity seemed united in competing in the best way that the beautiful game can bring. The horrible things that people are capable of inflicting took a back seat. On the steering wheel was a celebration of life.
In that celebration, we also learnt that life is indeed a tear and a smile. The tears of the defeated nations found crowning consolation in the smiles of the winning one.
Spain's national team returned to a tumultuous welcome in Madrid.
Is there anything to learn from this beautiful game? Yes, there is: winning is not everything, losing is not the end of the world.
But the games that people play are a reminder that the world is a common place for us to share, keep and guard with a conscious degree of human solidarity capable of saving the planet from mongrel beasts that delight in finding joy in manufacturing the sorrows of others.
The killing of 74 people blown apart in twin bomb blasts while they watched the World Cup final on July 11 in Uganda is a case in point.
Three explosions rocked a popular Ethiopian garden restaurant and a rugby field in Kampala, where hundreds were watching the game. While Madrid leapt for joy, Kampala recoiled in excruciating pain.
What does this tell us? It is a story of life, where that which is good in the world is forever locked in fatal combat with the bad that stops at nothing to cause a tear to every glimpse of a smile.
The simple wish of the good-hearted to smile is forever stalked, like prey, to be pounced on by the evil-hearted to unleash their statement of hate.
It is with this in mind that South Africa's success of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup must be appreciated.
That dream success, though, is no cause for our government to be forever dazed in self-congratulation on how successful we have been as a nation. The country has to wake up to the reality that there is a deserved better life beyond the games that people play.
Waging war against poverty, ignorance, hatred and diseases; enabling people to use the dignity of their labour - to make an honest living - is a greater cause that this government should primarily concern itself with rather than endless fixation on blowing its own horn.
Modesty teaches that the attainment of success is the ultimate point at which due praise cannot be denied. If ordinary people had no sense of this modesty, what justification would they have for their infinite adoration of Madiba, now honoured with Mandela Day to mark his birthday?
But Mandela Day is no tablet to be dispensed to hopeless patients once a year on July 18.
It is both praise to the life of man and hope by the struggling people of the world that their tears will someday turn into smiling victory parades.