2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup is a tribute to Africa - ANC, 21 May 2010

With just 20 days left before South Africa hosts the world’s most prestigious tournament – the FIFA Soccer World Cup – the African National Congress (ANC) has declared the event a tribute to Africa by adorning ANC headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House, with flags of all African countries participating in the event. We are doing this informed by the belief that this tournament is an African tournament.

This Fifa Soccer World Cup is a celebration of the struggles waged by the people of South Africa and Africa, led by the ANC. These struggles culminated in the freedom that we now enjoy and democracy that made it possible for the international community, particularly the Federation of International Football Association led by President Sepp Blatter, to host this world sporting spectacle in our country and continent. We are cognisant of the role played by our African brothers and sisters in our own liberation, equally cognisant of their own suffering due to being in solidarity with us in our struggle.

Adorning our headquarters with flags of African countries participating in the tournament is the ANC’s humble recognition to the people’s struggles waged in the continent against apartheid and colonialism, which left scores of people dead, and South Africa’s neighbouring Frontline States ravaged by bomb blasts by apartheid enemy forces. The African flags at Luthuli House serve as a reminder of the solidarity displayed by African countries during apartheid.

We also pay tribute to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and African leaders who were in the forefront of the isolation of apartheid South Africa. Fifa’s decision to eject apartheid South Africa from taking part in the soccer world cup in 1967 due to its policy of institutionalised racism, was also due to the OAU stepping up the pressure.

The ANC firmly believes that South Africa’s hosting of the soccer world cup is a fitting tribute, not only to South Africans who struggled for liberation under the visionary leadership of the ANC, but also a fitting tribute to those who paid with their lives for us to enjoy this freedom. Among those who waged a struggle but could sadly not live to see the freedom include victims of the Matola raid in Botswana, victims of the Lesotho Massacre, victims of bomb attacks in Mozambique, the late Ruth First, Solomon Mahlangu and scores of others. We also want to pay tribute to our leaders – ANC stalwarts Oliver Reginald Tambo and Chris Hani.

We are ecstatic to see the overwhelming and dominant electric mood of excitement of our people on the country’s hosting of the soccer world cup, which has seen flags adorning buildings and cars; people wearing Bafana Bafana T-shirts, and the abundance of vuvuzelas. We are confident that Bafana Bafana’s performance will make us proud in the tournament, we are also hopeful that an African team will make it to the finals. We call on all our people to go in their droves to the stadiums and parks to view the world cup – the first on an African soil in over a century. We are mindful of the fact that it might take South Africa almost another century to host another soccer world cup. Let us, therefore, give all our best for the successful hosting of this world cup.

With the first and the last game taking place at the revamped world class Soccer City, we are reminded with nostalgia of the day when Nelson Mandela made his official public speech at the same stadium after his release from prison on the 20th February 1990. This followed his earlier speech at Cape Town’s Grand Parade. We thank former presidents Mandela and Thabo Mbeki; as well as the current President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for their role that culminated in us hosting the world cup. The role of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chief Executive Danny Jordaan and LOC Chairman Ivan Khoza in the South African bid; including the support by African countries, made our dream of hosting the soccer world cup a success.

Issued by:

Jackson Mthembu

National Spokesperson

African National Congress

Enquiries:

Brian Sokutu 071 671 6899