World Cup ‘bringing people together’


    22 June 2010

    Black people, white people, rich people, poor people, locals, foreigners – at places like Lucky’s Bar in Phokeng township outside Rustenburg, South Africa’s unique Fifa World Cup is bringing people from all walks of life together.

    The Royal Bafokeng Stadium is situated in Phokeng, which gives the local pubs an opportunity to host fans in the hours leading up to the games as well after them.

    With ample outside sitting space, Lucky’s Bar is one of the favourites for fans who can enjoy a bite to eat and a few beers as they soak up the sun.

    A jovial Tshepang Bogatsu drifts from table to table entertaining the many Australian fans before their match against Ghana on Saturday.

    ‘I’m an ambassador for my country’

    “I stay here in Phokeng,” says Bogatsu. “I am a friend of the owner. He is very busy these days and always going out to get new stock, so he asked me to take care of these people.

    “I’m an ambassador for my country, so why not?” says Bogatsu. “I chat to the people, I show them around if they want to. I just want to show the people the warm hands of South Africans.

    “If there is one person who is benefiting from the World Cup, that person is Tshepeng Bogatsu.”

    ‘The country is for all of us’

    A Lucky’s regular, John Lekenyane, is happy to see the diverse mix of people now frequenting the pub during the World Cup.

    “Some places you get black people, some places you get white people. It’s boring,” says Lekenyane. “I wish it could always be like this, you know. This country’s not only for whites, its not only for blacks, it is for all of us.”

    “My wish is only one thing – for things to be like this forever.”

    People from all walks of life

    Englishman Mark can vouch for the warmth of the local people. “We were here for the England-USA game last week, and one of the families who live close to the stadium opened up their living room to us and other strangers and we all watched the game together. It was fantastic.”

    As he enjoyed his local meal of braai (barbecue) meat, Mark commented on the uniqueness of Africa’s first Fifa World Cup.

    “I think the last time anyone could experience the World Cup like this was when Mexico hosted it in 1986. When a non-first world country hosts this tournament, the supporters have an opportunity to really see how the other half live.

    “That’s why you see us all here tonight: we’re fascinated. It is a place like Lucky’s Bar which allows for people from all walks of life to come together, even if it is just for a brief moment.”

    Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee