I’m totally loving being South African right now. Not that I don’t always love South Africa, but at the moment the feeling of unity and excitement is unbelievable. It’s also strangely normal. I mean I’m used to listening to the sounds of traffic nearby, nowadays it’s traffic+vuvuzela as people lean out of passenger windows trumpeting away.
I took my car for a service this morning and got stuck several times as people offloading from taxis broke into spontaneous diski-dancing and random people on the street rushed over to join them, vuvuzelaing the whole way. It’s kind of hard to believe how grinchy I felt about all this just a few days ago.
Anyway last night P1 and I went off to a talk that my mother had organised (it was very interesting and totally another story entirely. I’m going to attempt to stay on one topic for a few minutes – for once) and then we headed off to Melrose Arch because I'd promised to get P1 a teapot.
For those of you who don’t know, Melrose arch is about a school away from being a fully self-sufficient little district. It’s kind of european-vibed with restaurants opening out to cobbled streets, apartments over the restaurants and shops squished in-between. A lot of businesses are based there too and it’s somewhere I’d love to live one day when I’m a multimillionaire.
Anyway it started badly when my favourite place (upstairs couches) were closed off and everywhere was crowded, until we realised what was going on. It was the official World-Cup opening concert being shown on giant TV screens everywhere. And wherever there was an open space hordes of people had gathered. it was really funny considering that Bafana Bafana is playing Mexico tonight and we ended up as the only South Africans in a huge crowd of Mexicans at one stage (they even had sombrero decorations), we also hung out with the Brazilians and the South Africans at different points.
What amazed me was how the vuvuzela has stopped being exclusively ours – everyone had vuvuzelas and clapper-on-a-stick things and weird outfits and cameras swinging around necks openly (that one might not end too well, as I’m sure ‘camera shopping’ will take on a new meaning. Just sayin’…). It was also incredible to feel the excitement from everyone. Nobody cared who supported which team it was just fun and exciting to all be there together.
And the moment that got me the most – more than the five hundred goosebump moments over the course of a few hours: we were sitting in a restaurant watching the concert. It wasn’t too crowded anymore, the tourists with young kids had all left and the people haivng dinner had gone back out the the parties in the street, but there was still a decent crowd. Anyway a Brazilian family and a Mexican family started waving their vuvuzelas around and one of the waiters got his vuvuzela and started making a noise. I’m not sure what happened, but the vuvuzelas started getting passed around from table to table with everyone wiping the mouthpieces discreetly and then trying to make a noise.
And it wasn’t just that – if someone got it right the whole restaurant would whistle and clap and get all excited.
And I totally got a sound out of a vuvuzela for the first time ever, and it felt AWESOME!