It takes just under 15 minutes to walk from my home, along Somerset Road to the new Green Point Stadium. That is unless you don’t stop at Bravado for a pint of Jack Black along the way.
I have been critical of the stadium, primarily because of its positioning. No, not because I did not want it in my backyard, but because it would have made more sense to upgrade Athlone Stadium, the home of one of our local football teams. But it is a magnificent piece of engineering and beautiful to sit in.
And that’s part of the irony of it all. This is the ultimate endgame of colonialism: a sport from England called football run by a dubious European organisation that calls itself FIFA (rhymes with “thiefer”, a term meaning “one who procures thieves”). You could be sitting anywhere in the world at any world-class stadium.
I digress. The beautiful game (not in evidence at the opening match between Ajax and Santos) is best viewed in a stadium such as this. One problem: stadiums have a heart beat, a pulse. At a tense moment, it grows hushed, then erupts into a storm of cheering and singing, At others, the crowds get bored and start to sing. And then, a player picks up a perfect pass and the crowd is again roaring behind him. Its exhilarating.
But Green Point Stadium is like a patient whose heart has collapsed, flat lined. The incessant monotonous drone of the vuvuzela sits on the stadium like a huge sodden blanket. It neither rises nor dips: it drones like the dreaded TV hospital scene when the patient’s heart gives up and the little blipping monitor flat lines. The announcements could be telling us a nuclear warhead is on the way and no one would hear it.
I know I will be met with a barrage of criticism about the kudu horn being used in ancient times to summon villagers to meetings, Christian cults claiming it as part of their sacred rituals but we are stuck with football games that can only be watched on TV with the mute button firmly on. Welcome to plastic Africa.