Durban Stadium: 24 September 2010
As we celebrate Heritage Day in the wake of our
successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I - like every South
African - am proud of my country.
The significance of this international event held
on South African soil transcends the beautiful game. It spoke of
South Africa's firm footing in the international arena.
We have forged a new platform for national unity.
Never before in South Africa's history have our people been so
unified. Never before have we seen South Africans from all walks of
life doing the same thing, at the same time, for the same reason;
until the Soccer World Cup. The diversity of the spectators was
I regret that we have not yet seen that kind of
diversity in the crowds that gather to celebrate our national days.
I had hoped to see the national unity we built during June and July
spill over into a new dynamic when it comes to celebrating together
as a nation. If soccer can unite us, why should Heritage Day still
see us divided?
Our successful hosting of the World Cup now leaves
us with a tremendous challenge. We have proven to our people what we
are capable of and we have raised their expectations. We managed to
pull together enormous resources in a short space of time. We
upgraded infrastructure that has long been in need of attention. We
even relocated Durban International Airport.
If we are able to do all this, our people are
certainly going to ask why we are not able to address the daily
challenges they face. For better or worse, our government has raised
the bar, and now, we must rise to meet it.