End of the World (Cup)?

Tuesday 6 July 2010: 3 years 10 months on . . .

Nothing is as it once was . . . Four weeks of the World Cup have come and gone, and there are just five days to go to the closing ceremony and the Final at Soccer City on Sunday evening.

The end is near. We have just four more opportunities to Wave Our Flag! That does not mean that we now go into depression because it’s all finishing. No, we will enjoy the Show and enjoy every minute that’s left until that final whistle blows. In fact, we should now be enjoying every moment even more, knowing full well that soon it will be no more.

Those of us who live with terminal illnesses have to learn to do the same. I know it’s easy to say and not so easy to do. But when the end is near we, too, have to learn to enjoy every minute that’s left of the Show of Life right up to the point that the final whistle blows. We should also be enjoying every moment even more, knowing full well that soon our Lives will be no more. Make use of every opportunity to Wave Our Flag!

In fact, all people should learn to do the same. After all, everyone lives with a terminal illness (albeit just old age!), and the end is always imminent. We all need to learn to enjoy every moment of every day! Wave Your Flag persistently!

I saw the following in a newspaper advert:

There is no bigger victory than uniting a nation.


In life, I guess there is no bigger victory than making a difference in other people’s lives. In Michael Jackson’s words, we need to “Heal the World”.

But what is it that has made this World Cup so successful? What can we learn from it that we can transpose into our lives, or work, our projects, our relationships?

I have taken note of many articles and discussions regarding the success of this World Cup, and in no particular order I would like to list the following – (It would be interesting to see what could still be added)

Some lessons that I have learnt:

Success does not come from:

  • Short cuts
  • Magic wands
  • Money thrown at a problem
  • Passion alone
  • Evoking politically correct responses such as being African, effects of apartheid and colonialism
  • Racial quotas
  • Leaving tasks up to the politicians
  • Making excuses
  • Expecting the middle class to pay for what the State should be providing
  • Self-serving politicians
  • Corruption
  • Feuding parties
  • Resentment
  • Jealousy
  • Sentiment

Success comes from:

  • Top-class technical skills
  • Exposure to the best the world offers over sustained periods of time
  • Being the best
  • Good corporate governance
  • Co-operation
  • Inspiration
  • Ordinary people being colour-blind
  • There is no substitute for hard work
  • Everyone becoming involved and supporting – broad participation
  • Involving everyone
  • Each person making an individual contribution
  • Having remarkable infrastructure
  • Organisational successes
  • Delivering the goods
  • Tackling the real problems
  • Setting goals and having clear targets
  • Being focussed
  • Having timelines with clear deliverables
  • Monitoring progress
  • External accountability
  • Goodwill
  • Respect
  • Being happy, having music, vuvuzelas and dancing
  • Breaking down perceived barriers and stereotypes
  • Recognizing that we are ALL just people
  • Learning from our mistakes
  • Having courage
  • Smiling at ourselves even when the World is not watching
  • Continuing the good work outside of World attention
  • Clear and unambiguous rules
  • Applying the rule of law
  • Visible and effective policing
  • Reclaiming our streets
  • Freedom of speech
  • Having principles
  • Single-minded leadership
  • Deliver or else lose out: A constant threat of withdrawal
  • Prestige was at stake – we wanted to do well
  • Political will to work together and do well
  • The media forgetting the negative and concentrating on the positive
  • Success breeds Success

And when Bafana Bafana was unsuccessful in progressing,

We were out but not down

It was the end of the Rainbow, but not the end of the World

This Show has been a reminder that despite our differences we are all people with similar hopes and ideals in life.

Jeremy McCabe wrote: “The World Cup has reminded us the Rainbow Nation does indeed exist, despite the efforts of the politicians. Let’s not lose the feeling again!”


Let’s wake up next Monday morning and continue wearing the shirts, blowing the vuvuzelas and waving the flags. “To Life!”

And, Happy Birthday Phillip on the 7th July – you are truly our miracle Rugby World Cup son. We will wave our flag to your life. You have grown not only in size but also in stature. Learn from the World Cup and you cannot be a loser. I remember just the other day when I was reading “Where is Wally?” to you.

Which reminds me:  Where is Julius? Just where has Julius been for the last month? Can he stay there?