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Let's all just be nice

2010-05-31 15:35
About two weeks ago, our president made a request. He urged all South Africans to be nice to the FIFA 2010 SWC visitors and to “behave” during the tournament. Although he was also criticised at the time from various quarters who found the irony of his request quite laughable, there just also might be some method to the madness.

With the Super14 tournament now wrapped up and the iconic trophy firmly seated in its final resting place - where it belongs - in Pretoria, we have a much bigger sporting tournament to look forward to.

For anyone who hasn’t yet noticed, our air traffic is abuzz with the sounds of behemoth Boeings and Airbuses flying in the best football teams on the planet. One would have to be about sex feet under not to feel the vibe of what is currently happening in our country.

All this has got me thinking about how contagious human attitudes and behaviour can be. Those selfish “a-holes” who cut us off in peak-hour traffic and the unfriendly counter/teller clerks, who need extra salt and vinegar for the chips on their shoulders, could be handled differently.

Perhaps instead of the usual abrupt dialogue with the rude teller, we could return an unselfish smile. (Even a fake one works sometimes). Instead of the one-finger salute to the aforementioned “a-hole”, how about a friendly wave of the hand acknowledging both, their presence on the road, and the fact that we know they can’t help themselves because they actually are an “a-hole”.

Violence breeds violence and unfortunately negativity is extremely contagious. The choice to behave differently and to treat people differently regardless of how they’re treated us, can be an incredibly powerful thing. It’s also very contagious. Let’s work to break that cycle of tension. Let’s start a new infectious cycle of peace and friendliness, trying to accommodate and understand, rather than instantly hating and judging.  

I want our visitors to feel welcome. I want them to take home memories of our beautiful country and the awesome time they had here. Even with their acknowledgment of our political challenges, I want them to communicate to the world that the majority if South Africans wish to live in peace and harmony with each other, sharing the fruits of our land, raising our families together.

I partly agree with our president on this one.

No, wishing problems away by denying they exist, will never solve anything, but for the next 10 weeks, let’s show the best of what we’re about. The worst they can read about in the news, but let us, the people, show them the best of what we have to offer. Let’s give them reasons to come back.  Let’s make this a Soccer World Cup to remember, for all the right reasons.

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