South Africa victorious as World Cup host

Toronto Star >> JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s streets can be dangerously distracting for the news junkie. Everywhere, they’re lined with trees and poles bearing placards with head-turning headlines in bold print, such as this: “The Day We Earned Respect.” Read More  Read More

Racial reconciliation and the World Cup >> JOHANNESBURG — Seeing South Africa’s FIFA World Cup stadiums throb with fans of numerous nationalities makes it hard to imagine that sports in this country were once systematically divided along racial lines. Read More  Read More

Rounded up and run out of town

Toronto Star >> DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA—With uniformed police officers standing over them, bleary-eyed boys and girls slowly get up from the sidewalk, throw their blankets over their shoulders and walk to the police truck, clearly knowing the drill. The officers herd them into the back of the wagon, where they will sit, looking out grilled windows as they’re taken to the police station. Read More  Read More

World Cup Crime: Hysteria vs. Reality

MEDIA-FUELLED HYSTERIA about crime in South Africa is scaring some tourists off from attending the World Cup, and prompting others to take unusual measures to ensure their safety. Of some 350,000 foreign fans expected to attend the 32-team tournament in June and July, those with the money to spend are hiring bodyguards, renting bullet-resistant vehicles, and packing GPS tracking devices in their cars and handbags. It’s part of a continuing boom in South Africa’s private... Read More

World Cup tickets too pricey for many >> “This is total disorganization by FIFA. People were trying to storm the place.” – disgruntled fan JOHANNESBURG If it wasn’t clear before how seriously South Africans are taking the World Cup, it is now. Amid scenes of chaos, confusion and long lineups, FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, made tickets available over the counter last week for the first time. It’s the last phase of ticket sales, in which 500,000 tickets were released. Fans... Read More

Challenges as World Cup Approaches

Will S.A. be ready? >> DURBAN — “Here, ladies and gentlemen, the dream is now reality.” With these words, FIFA president Sepp Blatter did his best Tuesday in Durban, South Africa, to set the tone for the 100-day countdown to the World Cup opener in June. But this is South Africa, where the drama is invariably unscripted. Take the other night in Durban for example. A phalanx of police vehicles pressed through tight traffic, lights flashing and sirens... Read More