We are coming up to the half way mark of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Its great to see so many amazing images coming out of the country. It makes me proud to be South African.
In the run up to the event, South Africa got some bad press. The media focused on the usual stereotypes such as the high crime rate and were openly doubtful if an African country could host a successful event of this magnitude. But since the event kicked off, the coverage has been very positive. Its been the disappointing performance of the world’s top football teams that have generated the bad headlines, and not South Africa’s ability to host a successful tournament.
No one can deny the infrastructure and the facilities are world class. You just have too look at the photos taken by Roy Zipstein, of the new stadium in Durban, to see evidence of that.
Zipstein’s images are amazing. They were shot for an architectural feature in SPREAD Artculture magazine. Of the five stadiums built for the World Cup, the Moses Mabhida Stadium has the largest capacity at 70,000 seats. The only bigger World Cup stadium is the renovated Soccer City in Johannesburg.
The event itself has generated some remarkable images. The Boston Globe’s Big Picture, has had some great compilations, especially on the preparations and the opening weekend. And the Guardian ran this picture by Yasuyoshi Chiba as a two page spread in the middle of the newspaper on how ordinary South Africans are viewing the world cup.
The media have not just been focusing on football. They have also been looking at what else the country has to offer. The New York Times has a travel guide to the country, based on the advice of local residents. And the Guardian has produced videos on the highlights of Cape Town and the ancient Cederberg mountains.
Its great to see an African country generating so much good press for a change. Wouldn’t it be good if the World Cup helped change the prejudices that many people have about Africa and made them realise its not just about crime, corruption, drought and poverty.