World Cup milestone is worth celebrating

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the death in detention of one of the most influential political activist of our time - Steve Bantu Biko.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the death in detention of one of the most influential political activist of our time - Steve Bantu Biko.

Many older South Africans will remember the effect he had on how particularly black South Africans perceived themselves and on the development of their pride and dignity.

Some of us have been touched in many ways by the man's teachings, including taking part in lectures and discussions organised by his son, Nkosinathi and the foundation founded in Biko's name.

It is with this context in mind that I urge fellow South Africans that on Saturday we should go to the respective ceremonies organised by the various host cities to celebrate their important milestones in the preparations for the World Cup.

The main event will take place exactly 1000 days from Saturday, September 15, when the first match kicks off on June 11 2010.

By then the whole world will be focused on South Africa and at least 400000 visitors will have descended on our shores to support their national football teams.

All prophesies, both negative and positive, will be put to the test at that time. But let us pause to reflect on what has to go into making the event a success.

Recently, the Local Organising Committee, through chief executive Danny Jordaan, gave an update on the milestones that have been achieved so far.

Many of these involve different parties from Safa formally establishing the LOC, to parliament passing laws that authorised the government departments to provide guarantees to Fifa, to host cities having to amend by-laws and establish their respective 2010 units.

There are people working on construction sites to finish the stadiums on time as there are private entrepreneurs planning and preparing their establishments to be world-class by 2010.

Many young South Africans are moving into many exciting areas of sport, entertainment, fashion, technology and business.

The big public companies such as Eskom are increasing their energy generation capacity while Airports Company of South Africa is investing over R20 billion in the expansion of different airports.

Many other individuals are, on a daily basis, enquiring about the roles they can play in the preparations.

The task is huge and complex, but it is made simpler and easier by the dedicated thousands of people who are continuously planning, managing and implementing the projects that will help deliver a world-class World Cup.

The sponsors are already playing a critical role in mobi- lising their clients, partners, employees and the public behind this project.

With all these activities taking place against a backdrop of doubts from some sceptical corners, it makes sense, therefore, for all of those involved in the preparations to come forward on Saturday, the 1000th day to the kickoff of the World Cup, and boldly declare that we are making progress and we are confident that we will deliver on our promises.

The nine host cities, with the Organising Committee, have organised cultural and entertainment events where members of the public are invited to attend for free, to come and hear their local officials report on progress made so far.

The SABC will be covering the event live on TV in the afternoon.

The last time we celebrated the event was the May 15 2004. Let's do it again on September 15, with 1000 days to go.

Come on guys, let's fly our flag with pride and confidence!

l Tim Modise is the 2010 World Cup SA Local Organising Committee's head of communications. - For your suggestions, queries and more on 2010, e-mail