By Simon Howell
Call me a pessimist, but I really do not think this country is ready to hold the 2010 World Cup. Funnily enough, this thought occurred to me while waiting for a plane that was two hours late, at PE airport. During this forced wait I bought an overpriced newspaper, within which there were three articles on the problems of “getting ready” for the Cup – one of which particularly made me angry. While the author, article and paper shall remain nameless, I do want to focus on the contents of said article.
Essentially, the author’s aim was to give a number of reasons why the World Cup would be a good thing for South Africa. Among the reasons was the standard fare of economic development, getting South Africa “on the map”, and job creation. But then it all went downhill as the article started relying on the “Proudly South African” and “Local is Lekker” discourse which has begun to saturate the South African market.
I am not against regional or national development, far from it in fact. And I am all too aware that this type of development needs to be situated within a specific discourse which aims to develop local markets. However, I cannot help but ask the simple question of whether local is really lekker for nearly half of the population that live below the poverty line.
Forget, for the moment, that the Proudly South African brand often justifies price increases for products that are no better than those which are not “local” (after all, or so the logic goes, things that are produced locally
There is a fine line between nationalism and ignorance. Yes, local
they are proudly South African, and until they can actually believe that local really is lekker, this country will continue to be split in two, not by race, but by class (although, rather obviously, the two have a lot to do with one another).