Location: Polokwane, South Africa
Taxis ferry fans to public viewing areas.
In Polokwane, Limpopo’s Department of Roads and Transport provided more than R25-million for taxi operators to ferry football fans to five different public viewing areas during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Each of the province’s five districts has one viewing area, which will provide impoverished rural communities the opportunity to watch all the Bafana Bafana matches during the month-long tournament live on big screens.
There were 250 taxis assigned to the five districts with around 50 taxis per district. This will be the closest many locals will get to the soccer tournament since many live in villages without electricity.
I was privileged enough to join a taxi driver in Fairbridge for Bungerrecht village and travel with him to collect fans from the surrounding areas to take them to the Fan Park in Eldorado. Before we set off in the early hours, we could hear the loud honking of the vuvuzela beginning to drift across the village.
“I was worried because many of the rural people have been excluded from watching historic events before, but now we are happy that the provincial government has remembered us,” said Fairbridge
Travelling on dusty roads, fans appeared in the distance waving their flags and wearing Bafana Bafana regalia. The taxi was filled with an electrifying atmosphere. The fans sang as vuvuzelas were blown in unison and teenagers yelled: “Can you feel it? It is here!” at top the tops of their voices. A couple of hours before the match started, fans of all ages ran excitedly into the viewing parks.
The sense of national pride that has started to course through the country in the past month, and the feverish anticipation that has been expertly brought to the boil by organisers, erupted in a joyous outpouring. “The atmosphere, the vibe is incredible. It is going to be a great month. People don’t sleep nowadays. All you hear is vuvuzelas,” said Frans, who had come to the park.
It was amazing to be part of such a memorable event and experience Unbuntu – the African spirit of togetherness that filled the viewing area.
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