Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remember the Excitement of New Development

My pleasant 5-minute drive to work takes me past the botanical gardens every morning. This morning I spotted a new sign that confirms the changes that the gardens have been undergoing for a few months now. There's a signboard from the Dept of Environmental Affairs advertising an upgrade of the facilities at the gardens, which like most facilities of its type, could really use an injection of support.

At this point I find it way too easy to fall into the usual pattern of thinking, imagining misallocation of funds, discriminatory tender selection, bureaucracy, backhand bribes, etcetera. Then I remembered that sense of excitement I used to feel when I was young and saw new development on the go.

I'm sure I speak for most of the white population in South Africa when I say that we need to give our scepticism a break sometimes. I recall the recent statements from the ANC that the whites "want the 2010 World Cup to fail". I'm not sure it's a case of "want", but rather "expect". Even so, I'm as much in danger of allowing all that scepticism to replace the fact that our country will host one of the world's two biggest sporting events. After the corruption that saw Germany steal the hosting rights from us, we've finally got our chance. While I will probably always view the ANC with justified concern, if the present government can pull it off, then hats off to them.

When 2010 comes around, we will have a glistening set of new stadiums, staging a world event on one of the best international stages. We might not have a team to compete, but there will be plenty of competition, foreign accents, local enthusiasm and world attention. It would be a mistake to miss out on the festivity, and for once I intend to remember the enthusiasm that has been the sole domain of children for far too long.

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