The hangover after soccer


What will it be like waking up in South Africa on Monday July 12? Will the silence created by the lack of vuvuzelas be deafening?
Will people still remember what it was like to live and breathe and operate without the enormity of the Fifa spectacle on their front stoep?
Will children recall what school is like, or even what it’s for, as the promise of “education for all” hangs in the air, still out of reach?
Will politicians resume delivering rhetoric rather than results, and will xenophobic thugs remember their goal of getting rid of their fellow Africans?
In the cold light of morning, the issues one faces after a night of pleasure and passion are often awkward.
Depending on how well the encounter delivered to expectation, there is often a sense of being let down, of regret and self-recrimination.
No doubt the month- long season of euphoria that accompanied South Africa’s infatuation with the World Cup Soccer will yield results that are no different for the country and its neighbours.
We will wake up to a world where our problems have not gone away, and our solutions have not suddenly emerged. The South African president will still have to figure out how to service his numerous partners to their satisfaction.
No more embarrassing stories of straying spouses, please (though my feminist friends are calling this “a victory for women!”). More importantly, the centuries of unresolved anger and indignation that are part of South Africa’s heritage will still be simmering, and in fact are likely to boil over, expressed in the language that nation understands best — violence.
In what is increasingly referred to as a “climate of threats” it is becoming clear that the sweet spirit surrounding the World Cup was a brief respite from the frightening reality facing many foreigners living and working in South Africa.
We can only hope that the interest being shown by human rights organisations will translate to real protection on the ground.
In Zimbabwe July 12 will no doubt still find us waiting for our “outstanding issues” to come in and sit down, preferably at the same table.
In some ways it’s too early to speak of a morning after with reference to our current government. There is a sense of “after what?” because after all the union in the so-called unity government has proved elusive, and it is regularly reiterated that the marriage remains unconsummated.
But in reality the feeling of excitement, optimism and expectation with which we initially greeted the Global Political Agreement constituted the dizzy heights from which our sense of anticlimax arose.
And as often happens in any morning after situation, the attendant feelings of being somewhat taken advantage of and definitely disenchanted, have lingered.
The great “lateral thinking” guru, Edward de Bono reckons that every creative idea is obvious in hindsight. I wonder, (in hindsight) how many of our social and political initiatives fall into this category.
Some are so obvious at the outset that you would be tempted to rewrite de Bono and say “every obvious idea is creative in hindsight!”
The hope offered by modern technology suggests that the morning after need not be too ugly or unpalatable an affair. To absolve you from the consequences of your failure to plan ahead, you can now take a pill, not only to prevent pregnancy, but also to protect you from HIV (or so I am reliably informed). I wonder then what would be the morning after pill for South Africa. Perhaps Julius Malema could recommend an anger management policy?
Zimbabwe’s pill would be an interesting affair. An annulment is the best way of cancelling a marriage that never really was. A way of saying “Err, sorry. Ndanga ndakadhakwa, and I didn’t really get a good look at you.
Now that I can see clearly, I realise you are not the person I want to have babies with!” Sounds dreadful, but it is an available solution. The only problem is — what happens after that? The hopes which may have been offered by a new constitution have been dashed as the constitution-making process has turned out to be its own source of controversy and divergent views.
And of course this in turn affects the arguments for and against elections, compounding our sense of being trapped in a slow-moving nightmare. Somewhere in Zimbabwe’s political wilderness, there is a solution. Whether that solution will come in time to do some damage control in our morning after situation, remains to be seen.
Lateral thinking is about reasoning that is not immediately obvious and about ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.
Surely this is what we need. Perhaps we should offer a prize for the most creative idea, or the most obvious one – whichever serves us best!
In the meantime we will squeeze as much of what’s left of the feel-good factor offered by our neighbour’s soccer fiesta and party while we can. Bear in mind, the morning after is still a whole ten days away!
l Thembe Sachikonye writes in her personal capacity