The World Has Embraced Johannesburg, Influx of Tourists "Simply Amazing"

Zaakir HoosenAnalyst IJune 13, 2010

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14:  In this handout photo provided by Rick Stevens, football fans gather to watch the 2010 World Cup Group D match between Australia and Germany at the Sydney International FIFA Fan Fest site on June 14, 2010 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Rick Stevens/FIFA Fan Fest via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

With the World Cup having just completed its third day and some highs and lows in terms the football played on the pitch, I have to say that everything non-football related is just so simply amazing.

I spent part of the afternoon at the Sandton City shopping complex, one of South Africa's premier shopping malls, which is situated in the heart of Sandton, the so-called elite area of Johannesburg.

With so much talk on Twitter and Facebook regarding the atmosphere, I expected something exciting, but it was more—it was simply amazing.

Everywhere you looked, you noticed someone from a foreign country. As you walked through the mall, you heard different languages, different accents, and a host of different cultures all jumbled up in a sea of different colours, representing the participating nations at the tournament.

There were a group of Netherlands fans in full orange shopping around, ahead of their first group match against Denmark.

The loud Mexicans could be seen by almost everyone; they were very friendly and although they didn't really understand English, they shared in a joke.

Retail stores that carry replica sporting goods were making a killing, with loads of locals and foreigners trying to get hold of something to represent their country when they attend the matches.

At the food court, families gathered with almost every take away buzzing with hungry customers.

Just upstairs, overlooking the food court, a lounge with Ghanaian fans screamed and cheered as their team scored a goal against the Serbians, resulting in their first victory.

Simply amazing. It was my first encounter with so many people of so many different countries all at once, a moment to take and believe that the World Cup is actually here.

Whether you are inside the mall or driving outside, there's so many people who are enjoying the richness that South Africa has to offer.

I wouldn't say it was a culture shock as such, but more of a feeling of excitement and anticipation ahead of the first match that I will attend when the Netherlands play Denmark at Soccer City.

While many, who unfortunately couldn't make the trip to South Africa for whatever reason, might see or hear that others are not enjoying our beautiful country, from first hand experience, I can say that many foreigners are having a blast.

Just to add to something not on the topic: people are all blasting the vuvuzella and its impact on the game. They are saying how South Africa should understand that fans and supporters of other nations aren't used to the sound and it should be banned.

Whether on television or at the ground, fan parks or wherever, as much as South Africans are enjoying blowing them, there are thousands of touring fans who made an effort to purchase them, whether on the streets from vendors or at the malls.

The vuvuzella craze has hit SA more than ever, with many street vendors having sold out. Yes, it might not be the usual, but what would a WC on African soil mean if it represented a European atmosphere?

We in South Africa are different and need to display that; we are colour, we are loud, and we enjoy that. As much as we respect your culture, we invite you to enjoy ours.

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