Thursday, 10 June 2010

They are Ready!: Africa's PR Test

As we count down the mere hours to kickoff of the FIFA 2010 World Cup (in case you were unclear as to what was kicking off, in case you live under a rock in a deep, dark cave), it is clear that not only is it the largest and most spectacular showcase of global footballing talent, but it is also a HUGE public relations and marketing coup for South Africa and by extension, the entire African continent.

I am sitting here, thanks to the lovely Kim, taking in bits of the WC kickoff concert and the talent and pageantry is absolutely amazing. Here is a chance for for Africa to shine and put themselves out there in the most positive light; to harness the glare of the global media and turn it to their advantage by marketing all that is beautiful and powerful about the continent. For years, we have sat by and watched Africa's hunger, bloody civil wars, corrupt and vicious dictators, battles with epidemics like HIV/AIDS and that has been what we have come to associate Africa with more times than we should. The world had formed its own image of the region.

But now it's their turn to show us THEIR Africa under the full lights of our scrutiny and against the backdrop of stereotypes and prejudice and so far, it has been beautiful and thrilling and touching and powerful. It's the reason island nations fight for beauty pageants, regional and global conferences and sporting events - to put their PR machinery to work, to put their people and their culture and their very beings to work for their economies, for their productivity and for their pride. For the chance to show the world, "Here we are. This is who we are!"

Let the beautiful game begin in beautiful Africa. Bafana! Bafana! Nelson Mandela must be truly beaming. I am ready for the World Cup and so is Africa.


I had forgotten how excited I was last time! Then I was stuck in a US office having my own solo PR campaign - explaining the significance of the most watched sport on the planet to my blissfully unaware American colleagues. This concert has brought back all my excitement - now I am also ready for #WC2010!

Let the games begin! woooooooooooooot!

Thanks to GWTO on twitter, I saw highlights of our first game in the World Cup against Sweden. It literally... literally brought tears to my eyes. Even though we are not in this world cup, I imagine I will feel the same way because of it being in Africa, a Continent that has never gotten a break. Even in the run up to this tournament, we had the shooting of the Togolese team bus at the African Cup of Nations, the stampede at the Stadium in the game between Nigeria and China and most recently the robbery of the journalists at gun point.

I remember how i felt when we hosted the ICC cricket world cup in 2007... Yeah there were unreasonable restrictions with regard to the fans, but When I went to that opening match in Sabina, in the party stand, my heart wanted to burst. I feel it for all Africans (people living on the African continent) who are finally getting their chance to shine, man I am getting all fuzzy inside now...

When the trophy is awarded on the 11th July (to Brazil, Holland or Italy of course) I am confident that the event will have passed without incident, and everyone will be saying what a great world cup it was. African culture will be a boon to the competition and I for one cannot wait...


Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments and questions!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More