Let me begin this post with a preface: I am a huge sports fan and have been looking forward to the World Cup for a couple of years. So it pains me when I write that my World Cup hangover may be starting before the tournament has even begun.
So, with that out of the way, I fear my World Cup hangover may be starting before the tournament has even begun. There are three principle factors that have precipitated this, the first being an experience I had trying to find accommodation in Rustenburg, having bought tickets for Australia vs Ghana at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Predictably, most guesthouses and the like were fully booked, but I did manage to find a campsite in a backpackers a few kilometers out of town. They were actually rather accommodating and the price for camping was not as inflated as what they were asking for a dorm room. So fine, I’ll camp in winter.
Then I received an email encouraging me to make use of the shuttle they were offering to the stadium, because “it would be safer”. Not the greatest advert for South Africa as a whole, but still, nice service and I can get drunk. So fine, I’ll use the shuttle.
Then I was told that it would cost R500 pp for me to do so. Not fine, not even close, not even if the people at the backpackers assumed I was Australian. If this is an indication of the level of price-gouging and exploration that is going to happen during the tournament, then I’m afraid I will be jumping on the bandwagon of negativity that certain people have been piloting around the media the last few months.
Speaking of exploitation brings me to the second cause of my premature hangover: this article, detailing a plan by former top SAFA officials, including that nice Mr Khoza next door, to make off with a hefty percentage of World Cup profits. I can now understand why Khoza was so anxious to regain control of SAFA before the tournament and I’m relieved he didn’t do so, although that relief is tempered by the fact that Khoza’s absence offers no guarentee that World Cup profits will actually be spent on things like development and facilities and not end up in someone else’s pocket.
With a hangover like this, one needs peace and quiet, so the release of the official World Cup song is hardly going to help matters. Especially since the song itself is almost indescribably terrible. Fortunately, I don’t need to describe it (another plus of working in a multi-media environment), but I will say that the opening reference to soldiers is unfortunate, given Africa’s conflict-ridden past (and, in some cases, present). As for the rest of the song, it would be erroneous to call it cliched, since cliche’s, while unoriginal, are at least capable of conveying meaning.
Instead, Waka Waka (and the title says it all, really) uses so many cliches that the whole thing is basically meaningless. I suppose it is an achievement for a single creation to embody the worst of music, the worst of commercial enterprise and the worst of fevered, nebulous conceptions of AFRICA dreamed up by FIFA’s marketing department, but that sort of achievement hardly validates the track’s existence.
I’ve written before about the conflict between bad art and good causes, as has Chris Roper, but in this case I don’t think the fact that proceeds are going to a good cause can justify the existence of art this bad. Especially since no-one pays for music anymore anyway.