A recent note from Didi, one of my SOM classmates who is living and interning in South Africa this summer (published with her permission): Johannesburg is bursting with World Cup Fever! For the whole year, the country has been celebrating ‘football Friday’ – which essentially means you wear Bafana Bafana (South African team) shirts to work that day. From government officials to factory workers, every Friday the country is literally decked out in yellow football shirts.
I arrived in Johannesburg to a city of flags. Every second car has flags flying from the windows, the roofs and covering both the side mirrors. On every street corner there are a cluster of men selling flags, scarves, hats.. the city is humming! I went to my first football game in Soweto the other day. I’d never actually been to Soweto, knowing it only as a dangerous township, but I found a bustling city that sported every race and nationality dancing in the streets, and kicking footballs around!!! This is a world cup that puts South Africa on the map, but most importantly, puts South Africans side by side. It honestly is so awesome to witness!! 100,000 South Africans are currently in the streets of Jo’burg supporting from the streets and rooftops as the national team walks through the streets in a “Unite for Bafana” parade. A banner hanging out of an office window says “49 million of us, 11 of you... bring it on!”
Some soccer lingo for you:
Laduma! - popular cheer at soccer matches, "he scores!" (literally means "it thunders", in Zulu)
Ayoba! – Cool, great, awesome, superb, it’s agreed. It also means the ultimate of cool, the best of the best. It is so Ayoba!
Vuvuzela – the plastic horns that we all go mad with!
Shushu-zela – the earplugs you can buy outside the stadiums to dim the noise a little.
Although I can't imagine what it's like down there at the moment, a few of us that are interning in San Francisco for the summer got a small taste of it by joining 10,000+ people at AT&T Park to watch the USA/England match Saturday morning on the Jumbotron (including two who went to South Africa on their International Experience trip and had Bafana Bafana of their own to wear).