Saturday, 20 October 2007

World Champions - Again!

Go Bokke!

An unattractive game possibly but the result is undisputed - the South African rugby team win the World Cup for a second time!

Well done to all involved - a magnificent effort after four years of planning and hard work.

New Zealand 2011 - we're on our way...

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Patriotism Spurred On By World Cup Final

It is interesting to see the incredible effect sport has to unite the nation. With the rugby World Cup final happening on Saturday between South Africa and England there is that euphoric feeling in the country that seems to invade our collective consciousness whenever our national sports team achieve.

I have listened intently as people from all socio-economic and racial groups have called into radio stations pledging support for the Springbok team. One old lady from Soweto called into Talk Radio 702 and spoke of how she has come to love the game during this World Cup and how she would be sitting in front on her television on Saturday evening.

If you would like some ideas of how to give support to the team make sure you stop in at my good friend Eish's blog. He has a post entitled "10 Ways To Show Your Support To The Bokke" - well worth a visit!

What concerns and frustrates me is how all and sundry are so patriotic due to the successes of the national rugby team but when Monday comes and we are faced once more with the stark realities of living in a country with so many challenges, will those who sang "Let us live and strive for freedom" be willing to knuckle down to building the country together?

I remember fondly the incredible sense of nation-building after South Africa won the Rugby World Cup on home soil in 1995. However that was one year into a new democratic dispensation and in a sense, with the eyes of the world focused on the miracle of transformation in our country, it was easier to be totally engaged in the euphoria. 13 years on and we continue to struggle to shake the shackles our past - how easy will it be now to make this World Cup a vehicle of nation-building?

Let's join together and give unequivocal support to our boys for the Final and lets enjoy putting aside the challenges we face daily in our beautiful country. Let's not however forget the fact that there is a reality to face when the final spectator has left the stadium and the final beer is drunk in celebration or disappointment. Each of us has a role to play in nation-building - we cannot expect the success or failure of national sports teams to determine the state of our national psyche over an extended period.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

What A View - Great Accommodation In Simons Town, Cape Town

Regular readers of this blog will know by now that I love the city of Cape Town. One of the challenges when visiting this wonderful city is deciding where to stay. Personally I love the sea and enjoy being able to wake up in the morning and look out over an expanse of ocean.

It is for this reason that I am pleased to present Glenmarine Lodge to you. These self-catering apartments are situated high on the slopes overlooking False Bay and historic Simons Town. Visitors enjoy panoramic views of False Bay -

These superb views and stunning sunrises can be enjoyed over breakfast from the comfort of your apartment or the spacious timber deck.

With so many wonderful tourist attractions in the vicinity, this will become your home from home. Take a look at the home page for further information. This could be a great place to spend Christmas with the family.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Mistaken Priorities Of Springbok Rugby Fans

I am a passionate South African rugby supporter. I will make every effort to watch every game and will engage in conversation around the team whenever I have the opportunity. With that out of the way, let me get to the reason for this post...

Yesterday's Sunday Times ran a story of how hundreds of Springbok supporters were paying sky-high prices for tickets for the World Cup Semi-Final and Final now that South Africa had progressed so far in the tournament. They quote prices of over R40 000 for tickets advertised on eBay and highlight several local travel agencies that have seen significant increased demand for packages ranging from R35 000 to R200 000. A group of 12 SA businessmen are forking out almost R72 000 a day to hire a 25m luxury yacht - R3000 per hour rate!

It is inconceivable to me that people are willing to take out second mortages on their homes to buy tickets for a rugby match. It concerns me deeply when corporate South Africa says there is no more money for social responsibility projects in the fields of education and health-care. Those travelling to Paris and spending these exorbitant amounts of money will argue that they are being patriotic by supporting their team in a major tournament. I would counter that by saying that true patriotism begins at home when those who have the resources contribute to the greater good of nation-building. Of course fingers will be pointed at those in positions of power who misuse public funds to their own end - yes, this needs to be dealt with severely but is the corruption of public officials sufficient cause to stop the rest of us working at making the country a better place for all?

I do not resent those who will be present at the World Cup final this coming Saturday when South Africa takes on the English. I do not sulk in my lounge armchair and wish that it was me who was there at the game. However, I do question the wisdom of those who in a rush of green-blooded patriotism risked everything to afford a ticket as much as I question those who are spending hundreds of thousands on luxury accommodation and thousands on a ticket to the game.

With recent studies showing that around 5.41 million people in South Africa are living with HIV(including 257,000 children) (source) , the massive housing backlog, the struggle to provide quality education for all children, the need for continued roll-out of basic services to rural areas and the concern for aging infrastructure, it is clear that government, corporate South Africa and individual citizens need to be prioritizing spending to provide 'a better life for all'. It is also clear that those in public office and corporate high office need to be held accountable for money spent inappropriately.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

French Visas Needed . . .

With the Springbok rugby team having reached the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup, the French Consulate has reported a massive increase in the number of applications for visas from South Africans wishing to visit France.

Why the sudden interest? Did rugby fans not have faith in the team that they would progress this far in the tournament? It seems that the biggest demand has come from travel agencies - surely this is a little late in the day to be organising group tours?

The French Consulate in Johannesburg has the following disclaimer on its website - Due to technical reasons or busy circunstances, the Visa Section could be closed without prior notice, either forced to limit the number of applications daily accepted.

I suggest that if you would like to travel to Saint Denis for the final (whether or not the Springboks are playing), you start making application for your visa today!