A million flags to fly in Soweto
30 June 2010
South Africans living in the greater Johannesburg area are being urged to join the One Million Flags March through Soweto on Friday, 3 July to show their support for Africa's first Fifa World Cup.
The march will ensure local fans still keep the momentum of what has so far been phenomenal support for football's greatest showpiece.
Musician Arthur Mafokate says: "In the wake of Bafana Bafana's going out in style from the world's most spectacular tournament, South Africans remain optimistic and support the teams that are left in the tournament.
"To show South Africa's patriotism, passion and love for the game, different corporate companies and the government have partnered to continue to show they are good hosts."
It is not about Bafana, he explains; it is to show that South Africa is a beautiful nation and that its people can still celebrate even if the national team did not make it into the Round of 16. The way in which South Africans celebrate the World Cup will hopefully leave a lasting impression on visitors, which will bring them back to the country with their families in the future.
Starting from Baralink Taxi Rank in Diepkloof at 10:00 sharp, the march will go to Maponya Mall, moving towards Jabulani Mall, then to Dobsonville Mall, towards Protea Gardens Mall, Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, and end at Elkah Stadium in Rockville.
A host of proudly South African individuals will participate. Mafokate says the nation should "embrace visitors and make them feel loved".
The One Million Flags March is being held 15 days before the birthday of Nelson Mandela. His birthday, on 18 July, is celebrated around the world as Nelson Mandela Day.
"Let's come together and celebrate with the world. The World Cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity," says Mafokate.
Raising the South African flag
The march is set to focus on everyone raising South Africa's flag in support of the country's world-class hosting of the prestigious tournament. "The One Million Flags March will take to the air through the streets of Soweto, and if it's successful it may be extended to other parts of the country."
He points out that, to local artists, the World Cup is "like a key opening a door for the whole world to know about us".
Confident that the march will attract one million people, Mafokate believes that not only people in Soweto but from surrounding areas will join.
Somali-Canadian rapper and musician K'naan will perform his Wavin' Flag song at the Fifa Fan Fest™ at Elkah Stadium, where the march will end.
The march comes after Fifa and the Organising Committee noted concerns that Bafana's early elimination would affect the number of people in South Africa supporting the football and could break down the unity seen before the team's exit.
"Let us [South Africans] be the rainbow nation we are known to be," Mafokate says. "It's about the legacy [the World Cup] will leave behind."Source: City of Johannesburg