Soccer Isn't Life or Death

"Soccer isn't a matter of life or death, it's much more important than that", says a famous old quote repeated often during the 2010 World Cup. Nowhere is it more important than Africa this year. Africans have been belittled by slavery, colonialism and poverty for centuries. But now, in the post-colonial era, Africa and Africans are emerging from their history to claim their rightful position.

African society, agriculture, arts and culture had all advanced far beyond Europe's in the middle ages. When the slave traders arrived on the west coast they were handed over the enemies of the tribes they encountered [almost exactly the same scenerio goes on today in Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iraq]. Eventually the Europeans started colonizing/invading and when they did they followed the advice of their African contacts who directed them to their enemy's lands.

Africa, despite centuries of extraction by colonial powers, is still rich in material resources. It has a relatively small population many of whom still live on and farm the land with traditional methods and live within surviving village and tribal structures. Demographically, much of Africa's population is young and just entering their productive years. Africa has huge potential to become a powerful force for change.

One thing they need is unity of purpose another is the confidence that evolves from success. These last few weeks African pride has gotten a huge boost on the soccer pitch as Ghana's team became a mirror for the dreams and potential of all Africans. As Ghana’s youth and sports minister Akua Sena Dansua said at a huge farewell party for the team: “Thank you for the hospitality you’ve shown the national team. We came to South Africa as representatives of Ghana, but we leave as representatives of Africa. We leave with fond memories. You will always be in our minds and hearts.”

As Ghana showed later in this past week by rejecting the capitialist model of oil development for their offshore deposits, Africans have both the material and intellectual resources to lead the world along a different development path in the coming centuries. At least i hope so because we are all Africans.

Black Stars shine as fans bid them a fond farewell
IN TRUE South African style, hundreds of people braved a cold winter afternoon in Soweto and at Melrose Arch yesterday to bid Ghana’s Black Stars a fond farewell. Some of the placards read: “Africa is destined to survive”, and “Who says Black Stars can’t shine”.