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Africa’s first World Cup- A view from Trafalgar Square

Nkosazana Zuma

This is the moment many on the African continent have been waiting for, the moment we host the World Cup. A moment where the world looks at the positive side of Africa for a month, and the negative takes a backseat.

Like many of my countrymen in the UK, I was unable to be home to see the opening ceremony, and our team Bafana Bafana take on the Mexican team, and to feel the amazing atmosphere to the build of the game.

Thanks to Boris Johnson the London Mayor, for placing a big screen in Trafalgar Square so Londoners from all over the world could watch the opening ceremony and opening match. This is where South Africans and Mexican fans alike gathered for the first match.

The atmosphere was electric and the vuvuzelas were been blown, for 90 minutes Trafalgar Square under the gaze of Lord Nelson turned into South Africa, with the green and gold dominating the Square with Mexican pockets in between South African supports. Everyone was in a party mood, and there was a sense of goodwill. For 90 minutes on the square I believed we had a chance of winning against the Mexicans, for 90 minutes my fellow South African’s and I sang, chanted and blew our African trumpets in hopes of that our boys would prove us and their critics wrong.

Hope was ours when Tshabalala scored a breath-taking goal in the 55th minute, for all of 24 minutes a win seemed within our grasp, only to be brought back down to earth by Marquez’s goal in the 79th minute. But to my relief we were able to hold on to a draw. And in all honesty I was thrilled as our football team has been struggling to for the last decade in a bid to relive our glory days, when we were once African Champions, when the likes of Toovey, Khumalo, Fish, Williams and Radebe wore our colours with pride and graced our football fields.

With the final whistle blowing all South Africans on the square were celebrating and enjoying the atmosphere. In the centre of the square you had Eva ,an Egyptian by birth, teaching her fellow football fans how to blow the vuvuzela.

On June 11 2010 I was thrilled to be South African and was touched that many nationalities came out to watch the opening ceremony and game in Trafalgar Square. It just goes to show that the world unites for the beautiful game.

South Africa and Mexico have the upper hand when meeting France and Uruguay as the game ended in a goalless draw. It must be said that this game was not very memorable at all. Now we will have to see how South Africa and Mexico use this to their advantage.

All I can say as a South African is that as a country and a people I feel we have won already, because of the fact that we are able to host the greatest sporting event in the world, and are able to see some of the best football has to offer playing in our backyard.

Here is to a brilliant World Cup with African flair.

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