I’m afraid I don’t speak Vuvuzela

I see yellow M’s swimming through the irises of the game sated.

Marketing gurus and tax consultants are applying rational statistical analysis to measure irrational concepts like national unity and optimism. They say that 30 days of national euphoria can change a country forever. They speak about rebranding the country as a spinoff – in the absence of any tangible benefits.
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Pilgrimages video: One book or thirteen?

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Cape Town keeps it clean

We are supposed to feel lucky to be hosting this world cup, to be spending millions on stadiums that will stand empty and unloved once the cup flow is over. Few South Africans can afford tickets to the games and the swarms of tourists and the money they’ll pump into our communities, have simply not materialised. What has happened is that our city centre has been “cleaned”. For weeks now the poor, homeless, the street hustling whores and begging street …  ( continue reading

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Ramblings of the damned hopeful

I watched the droplet of water from my hair roll down my newly painted green nail polish onto the thin foil covering the tray of freshly grilled South African lamp chops and spare ribs I was gripping while cursing under my breath as the lift lumbered up to the 13th floor apartment of a shabby high rise complex. I was on my way to meet friends for the June 12 Nigeria versus Argentina match but had wasted ten minutes threatening …  ( continue reading

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Where are Africa’s playmakers?

Twelve matches, seven losses, four ties, one win. So much for the African world cup. Despite home advantage and the dismal performances of so-called big teams like France and England, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana have not shown signs of seizing an opportunity to get beyond the quarter finals. The results—it is not certain any African team will reach the round of 16– show the African game to be in disarray. The rest of the footballing world, Asia and smaller European …  ( continue reading

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How do you know the World Cup is on at Kampala’s Rock Bar?

new boda boda

1) The insectoid drone of vuvuzelas emanating from the televisions inside. 2) The boda-boda drivers gathered at the fence to watch from the sidewalk.  ( continue reading

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Konfessions of a diski convert

I had never in my 28-year oxygen-consuming spree watched a soccer match, not even at my village where the only Sunday afternoon entertainment is checking out rippling farm boys in action.  In times when I found myself in a room where the TV is switched on to a game of football, my vision automatically switched to interface CAN mode. That all changed on 11 June 2010, when something took control of my body, put me in an 11-car convoy that …  ( continue reading

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Hit the Ground

We arrive on June 14th, 2010. As our plane taxies up the tarmac I spy seven giant white letters set in the red dirt of a hillside along the airport. E-N-T-E-B-B-E. At the arrivals gate we meet our host, a young woman named Caroline. A writer herself, she’s worked as a journalist since the age of fifteen. She carries a hand written sign with my name on it in one hand and her cell phone in the other. As soon …  ( continue reading

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Sports, Sex and Summer

It started in the summer of 1982 but of course we don’t have summers so it was a sultry, melancholic season of rains, sex and mosquitoes much like this one. Platini was on form and had just scored a delirious 26th minute equalizing penalty kick in one of the most dramatic ever World Cup semi- final matches against the then West Germany in Spain. In Lagos, l jumped in joy and ran out of the six by eight attachment my …  ( continue reading

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Christmas Day in Saudi Arabia

It is Friday June 11 and I am in a festive mood. The World Cup begins today. I haven’t had a television for years but I am not about to let that get in the way.  My three year old son and I drive to Harvard Square and go to the Department of African and African American studies at the Barker Center to see if the opening game is being shown there. The building is deserted except for two men …  ( continue reading

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