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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Memories of 2010 FIFA World Cup 14 years after kick-off

As we reflect on the 14th anniversary of Mzansi’s hosting of this global showpiece, we look at some of the intangibles of hosting the global showpiece.

On this day, 14 years ago, the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicked off in South Africa with Siphiwe Tshabalala scoring the memorable goal which triggered South African into rapturous celebrations.

Despite the fact that South Africa went on to draw the match against Mexico, that goal evinced the beginning of the FIFA World Cup.

But many other things came with the tournament, outside of the field.

As we reflect on the 14th anniversary of Mzansi’s hosting of this global showpiece, we look at some of the intangibles of hosting the tournament.


There was a strong- a sense of pride in the country. While a bus parade is normally reserved for a team that has won a tournament, our men’s national team Bafana Bafana rode through Sandton in an open bus some two days before the tournament kicked-off.  

The country was so inebriated in in the euphoria of hosting the tournament, that we put the horse before the cart in excitement.

But as a young South African who was a toddler when the country became a democratic nation, I had never witnessed this sense of pride in being a South African, before and after the World Cup.

I have yet to see South African flags hoisted outside of a sporting setting-there were flag hanging from people’s cars, homes and even in offices.

The phrases

From the chants of “feel it, it is here” to personalising the tournament referring to it as Phillip, because he was here. There were terms that were created before and during the tournament.

When Bafana Bafana was knocked out of the World Cup, South Africans adopted the Ghanaian national team, referring to them as BaGhana BaGhana was both a humorous and a term of endearment from South African fans that were still emotionally invested in the tournament despite the host nation being kicked out.

South Africa’s bad juju on the field must’ve rubbed off on the Black Stars, as they dramatically crashed out of the tournament in the Quarter-finals against Uruguay on penalties.

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From June 11 to the July of the same date, South Africa had a party atmosphere, thanks to the number of fan parks where people who couldn’t afford stadium tickets flocked to.

People tend to be nicer to strangers because there’s a paucity of emotional baggage connected to the unknown person and this was displayed throughout the tournament in how tourists felt welcomed by South African citizens.

Like music, sport brings people together and the sense of community was heightened during the tournament as stadiums and fan parks, but also among South Africans themselves.


On May 15 2004 when South Africa was announced as the host of the 201 FIFA World Cup, the elation from ordinary South Africans was about the economic opportunities that would come with hosting the tournament.

According to the government, the World Cup stimulated R20-billion developments in hotels and resorts across South Africa.

This figure includes R7 billion at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, 10 hotels in Durban, and five hotels in the Sandton area.

Stadiums that were built for the tournament include the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, the Moses Mabhida and the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga.

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