End of World Cup should herald the start of a new era in SA

IF THE people of the world had more games to play than fighting wars, there would be more inner peace to write home about than filling history books with pages of hate from which perpetrators and victims scramble to parrot their respective scripts as gospel to elongate animosity generation after generation.

From whatever position that the 2010 Fifa World Cup is looked at, there can be no denying that the earth was blessed with a much-needed breather. There was a glimpse of hope that it is possible for people to be simply human. And the lessons were too obvious to be missed.

Any nation granted the honour of hosting the world has the duty to discharge the assignment in a manner that makes visitor and host feel each others' receptive warmth. Foreigner meeting foreigner on unfamiliar soil could rely on their host to provide a link for a hospitable and memorable stay.

That the English fans could concede defeat of their national team, without explosion of their reputed temper on such occasions and still reminisce about the good time they had, is a remarkable reference of the kind of host South Africa has been.

This does not for a moment suggest that South Africa has been heaven since June 11, except to point to the positive energy that the World Cup has unleashed on our shores. And there are none as blind and deaf as those who refuse to see and hear that out of this positive energy lies the opportunity to grasp the momentum to put our nation on a purposeful footing of reinventing itself in order to become the best that it can be on and off the field.

Failure to ride the crest of this positive energy and recapture the rebirth of a nation that liberation had promised will be no less than courting a disaster that is destined to condemn the country into a living hell for the struggling majority.

It should not be forgotten that the success of the World Cup has so far not been solely as a result of the readiness and diligence by people in authority. This success is as much a part of that inexhaustible patience of the struggling majority, whose pain cannot be put in abeyance forever in the priority list of a government that is sworn to giving a better life to all.

For President Jacob Zuma, the morale behind the World Cup is clear. Declared commitments were transacted with executable purpose and a defined goal in mind. Everything done to make South Africa a capable host was directed at honouring, without fail, the striking hour of enabling the games to begin - cometh the moment on June 11.

Did we not commit ourselves as a nation to a countdown to the day on every Friday leading to the games? Did we not colour ourselves yellow and green for all and sundry to see us as a nation at work to give the world a memorable experience that even the English fans have been a willing testimony of?

Coupling this preparedness were the spirited songs, slogans, patriotic flags and that irritating tuneless vuvuzela that the world strangely came to embrace as a necessary evil that gives signature noise to the games.

On July 11, the curtain will not only close to proclaim the world's most loved sport was here. We would also learn to say the games have left the country with the greater goal to be achieved off the field: material relief of the struggling majority from conditions of oppressive subordination. Therein lies inner peace for all.