Monday, November 22, 2010

Proudly South African

I am not sure about those of you in the isolated world of America, but I believe the majority of the world has borne witness to the professionalism and smoothness with which South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I was especially convinced of this after observing the embarrassment that the 2010 Commonwealth Games proved to be for India a few months ago. Honestly, I was amazed at how well everything went throughout the month-long tournament and hosting of tens of thousands of foreigners infiltrating a country only twenty years out of one of the most oppressive governments in the world.

I can say today that being married to a South African and having a South African/American little girl, I am truly blessed and proud to be identified with South Africa. As nearly all the products that are locally made in this great nation have written on them, I am "Proudly South African." While this 'buy local' marketing campaign and logo is great to support local production, I recently learned it can sometimes be deceiving. Over a dinner discussion with a Kenyan family and friends, a passionate topic came up. Kenya not being recognized for the things they produce and export to South Africa--namely, their unique blend of Arabica coffee from the fertile highlands. South Africa carries out what is called Rebranding of certain products that are not South African, but package them as if they were. Thus, you buy Kenyan coffee in the local grocery but there is nothing on the package to indicate it actually comes from Kenya! The closest I have seen is a rebranded coffee called Kenna:) So this is the reality of global trade and manipulation of markets.

While the months leading up to the World Cup were at times quite tense within the host cities, such as when the police forcefully confiscated my new camera after innocently taking a photo of a truck accident outside our apartment in a Cape Town suburb far from the city, the event itself was truly a remarkable experience.

Now the debate rages on in Cape Town, where the money is put into rugby and cricket, whether their World Cup stadium down near the water will survive, with the dimensions only sufficient for soccer and not the former two sports! Yet, South Africa has proved its vitality and ingenuinity in spite of very diverse cultures that have earned it the nickname "Rainbow Nation."

Busisiwe shows her support for her father's homeland as well--Go Mariners!
Merry Christmas from all of us here in the sunny southern hemisphere and Happy 2011!!!

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