Handing Over The Baton
On 11 June 2010, the indomitable Nelson Mandela will symbolically hand over a baton to all South Africans. After leading millions of formerly disenfranchised South Africans to their first vote in 1994, he is reported to have gone to the grave of Chief Albert Luthuli in Natal where he stood to attention and solemnly said: ''Mr. President, I have come to report that now South Africa is free.''
On 11 June, the first day of the historical first FIFA Soccer World Cup on African soil, itself in no small way attributable to, and seen as the culmination of, Nelson Mandela''s long Walk to Freedom, as South Africans we will hear and even see, through our mental eyes, Mandela saying to all of us, in all our different rainbow colours: "Beloved South Africans, I am able to report finally now that you are free and free indeed and from now on, you have no reason to look back, whatsoever."
Thus, the baton shall have passed from Nelson Mandela and all his gallant compatriots, mostly already beyond the reaches of planet earth, to all of us South Africans. The 2010 FIFA World Cup has provided South Africa and all its people the final building blocks and adhesive for knitting and galvanizing themselves into a formidable and winning nation, in a way that other nations in history were only able to achieve through a war. On 11 June, as South Africans, we are going to war, with our team, Bafana Bafana, being the foot soldiers, but certain of 48 million footsteps behind them, every step of the way.
No doubt, when the World Cup ends and the lights of the world withdraw from our centre stage, we will have become a united nation and one that will never look back, for the appeal of the future will render the past an unrecognizable patch, totally overwhelmed by the inviting and embracing future of unlimited possibilities. At that point, ours must be to say, "Thank you Nelson Mandela and thanks God for you and your dream and all those who dared to dream with you." On 12 July, our flag will be flying very high and very brightly and never to be dimmed by anything.
Go, boys, go! Go Mandela''s boys go! And go all the way, beautiful South Africans! At SWGC, we are a microcosm of all the euphoria engulfing the nation around you, Bafana!