Zakumi

Dear readers and soccer fans,

After travelling from Johannesburg to Rustenburg and Nelspruit, I have finally reached Durban. The Netherlands has beaten Japan and we can now continue to the next round!

The country is even prettier than I expected. Yesterday, we drove through Swaziland and saw a lot of animals in their natural habitat. The nature is beautiful as well; the soil is very fertile, there are mountains, streams, rivers (with crocodiles!) and many dirt roads… wonderful! The people all wear yellow shirts of Bafana Bafana, THEIR team. The white ‘farmers’ and the black Africans, they all wear it with pride. As you can see, the world soccer championship doesn’t just unite nations… it also works within this amazing country.

In Durban, we met Roland Schmetz and Wouter Lindenberg. They have arranged things well: all lists are organized, the numbers are correct, the tent is clean and they help where ever it’s necessary. The caterer in this stadium is genuinly happy, and so is our instructing party, Match. This stadium is one of the most beautiful ones; the Mabhida Mozes stadium. It was named after an old Zulu-warrior from shaka zulu’s army and is located on the outskirts of Durban. It has an enormous arch (with elevator) over the stadium, as a symbol of the unity in this formerly torn apart country with many different cultures. It is unbelievable how positive everybody is, and how they keep smiling. Even if they have to stand in line for hours to be able to work!

The mascot of the world championship, a leopard named ZAKUMI, can be found just about everywhere. Every once in a while, you see it flying through the stadium as some kind of giant teddy bear. The fans love it, and the symbol is said to bring joy and happiness. This morning, I asked a jobper what Zakumi actually means. Is it a zulu or xhosa word? No, the answer was simple: ZA stands for ‘Zuid-Afrika’, KUMI for the word 10. South-Africa 2010… I guess not everything here is related to the rich history of the country.

The sound of the vuvuzela’s is driving me crazy by now (they love trumpets here as well though!) and I have bought a beautiful makarapi (a decorated plastic helmet), painted with the KNVB logo and the Dutch lion, on a flee market for 150 rand (15 euro). With a bit of luck, you will see the trumpet and the makarapi on TV, during one of the games!

If you don’t, then please check the following link for a short portrait of me that was filmed at Roda, the soccer club of Kerkrade. http://www.zuidlimburg.nl/video/portretten/96529179001
/Ondernemer_Charles_van_Goch

All the best,

Charly

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