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Getting into the “gees*” of the Fifa Soccer World Cup 2010 in South Africa

Updated on March 27, 2011
Image from Sunday Times 6 June 2010
Image from Sunday Times 6 June 2010
Street-side stall selling world cup stuff
Street-side stall selling world cup stuff

Ke nako! It is time!

It's flags and vuvuzelas everywhere you look! With just days to go before the kick-off in the “greatest show on earth” the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) slogan is coming true in a big way: “It is here. Feel it.”

There is no need to ask what “it” is – our soccer-crazy country is just abuzz with enthusiasm for “the beautiful game!” And when I say “abuzz” I mean that quite literally as well as figuratively – the buzzing of the vuvuzelas is starting to drown out any other sounds and the flags are sprouting on almost every car and lamppost.

The street vendors are of course making the most of the situation. Every street corner has a huge collection of soccer-related merchandise (most of it probably illegal counterfeit stuff) being sold. Trade is so brisk at some corners that traffic jams are being caused.

Ever page of the newspaper is full of ads about the Soccer World Cup (SWC for short!) and Bafana-Bafana (the South African National soccer team). The word, by the way, means “the boys.” And everyone, from the President on down, is getting into the act.

Many new words have come into our daily parlance as a result of the SWC coming to this lovely land! Some of them you will have to know in order to understand the particular way that South Africa celebrates and plays the beautiful game.

Just to get you into the mood, whether you are coming here to join our party, or will be enjoying the vibe vicariously via TV in your lounge, this Hub will introduce some of the words and other cultural attractions that will surround this great event.

*"Gees" is the Afrikaans word for "spirit" and is used by almost everyone in South Africa in connection with events like the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Headline in a Sunday newspaper
Headline in a Sunday newspaper
Daughter Caitlin gets into the "gees" with her vuvuzela
Daughter Caitlin gets into the "gees" with her vuvuzela

Vuvuzela

The vuvuzela is a plastic trumpet of about a metre in length with a built in mouthpiece, a little like a bugle. It makes a sound that can be compared to the trumpeting of an elephant when heard alone, but when heard in a soccer stadium, when thousands of fans will be blowing their lungs out, it sounds like a swarm, a gigantic swarm, of enraged hornets attacking. For the home side it is a morale-boosting sound, for their opponents it can produce sheer terror!

The characteristic vuvuzela sound is resounding even in hitherto quiet suburbs as more and more whites get into the act and learn to blow this weird and wonderful instrument which until a short while ago was only really known to black soccer fans.

On Saturday my daughter's school was involved in some inter-school soccer matches and even there the braying of the vuvuzela was heard (I have to confess I was one of those blowing one).

Typical makarapa. From the Baloyi Makarapa Homepage. http://www.makarapa.co.za/index.cfm?page=8
Typical makarapa. From the Baloyi Makarapa Homepage. http://www.makarapa.co.za/index.cfm?page=8

Makarapa

A makarapa is basically a plastic hard hat such as construction workers wear, but it has been modified to include symbols of various soccer clubs, and has now made it onto the international stage via the SWC 2010.

It has traditionally been hand made by fans, but now that the SWC is here they are being sold ready-made as well.

The original idea of the makarapa was from a soccer fan Alfred “Lux” Baloyi who in 1979 wore a hard hat borrowed from a friend as protection at a soccer match between local teams Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows. He then decided the hard hat was not colourful enough and so he decided to add something to it, and so the makarapa was born.

The makarapa is now marketed as the “Baloyi makarapa”.

Diski dance

South Africans are very musical and rhythm is in our bones! So it was inevitable that soccer should get a dance of its own. The diski dance is the result. It is made up of five moves based on various soccer actions. These are (1) THE JUGGLE, or "Teka" in township lingo. Juggle the soccer ball from your left foot to your right foot and back again. (2) THE HEADER where you simply bounce the ball on your head. (3) THE TABLE MOUNTAIN in which you position yourself bent over with your back flat like a table. The ball needs to be kept behind your back. (4) THE TREPA in which, after holding the ball from behind your neck, flick it over your head and hold it on your foot then kick the ball twice with your right foot. (5) THE BRIDGE, or "Brija" in local speak. Pass the ball over with your right foot over your left foot and back again four times. Now end the dance with kicking the ball into the back of the net.

Come join the party

These are just some of the sights and sounds that are going to make the 2010 Fifa World Cup the most exciting and colourful one ever.

No matter who wins, who loses, the spirit, the “gees” of the world cup is infectious and will no doubt be felt in South Africa for a long time to come.

This is the first Soccer World Cup to be held on the African continent and all South Africans seem to be aiming at making it the greatest ever.

Copyright notice

The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Tony McGregor 2010

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    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Story - thanks so much for your concern! We knew that South Africa had only a very slender chance of getting past the first round, so in my opinion they did as well as could be expected from a team rated a lowly 83rd in the Fifa rankings. I think only North Korea is lower than us in the tournament, at 105th. And we would not have been in the tournament at all were we not hosting it!

      Thanks for coming back to comment - I do appreciate it.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 

      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I am sorry that South Africa lost yesterday :(. I hope this doesn't dampen the enthusiasm for the tournament! Thinking of you...

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Dit is so, my broer! Dankie vir die inloer!

      Beste

      Tony

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 

      8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Ja, my broer! Ek ook wonder wat hulle sou dink! LOL! In elk geval, ons is net met mekaar te praat, dus nie nodig om te wonder, reg?

      Alles van die beste

      Al

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Nogmaals dankie, waarde broer! Ek besef wel dat ek geseënd is - en nie alleen deur die mooi dogter nie! En sy is nie net mooi nie, sy is ook slim en is so lief vir haar, en trots ook!

      Ek hou ook baie van tale en probeer waar ek kan. Ek het 'n ruk gelede op een van my ander Hubs 'n opmerking in Frans probeer antwoord. Ek ken daardie taal maar min, maar ek het darem probeer!

      Baie dankie, liewe broer Al. Jy is 'n vriend duisend!

      Alles van die beste

      Tony

      BTW hierdie is die tweede keer dat ek kommentaar in Afrikaans lewer hier op HubPages! Nou begin ek wonder wat ons Amerikaanse vriende hieroor dink! LOL!

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 

      8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Ah, Waarde broer Tony,Nie deur 'n lang geskiet, maar ek probeer om uit te vind waar ek kan. It is nice to see your language written by someone you appreciate. Happy to be your brother.I might learn with you, Equalla and Nando´s. I love languages!

      Jou dogter is so mooi. Jy is geseënd!

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      My waarde broer Al - ek het nie besef jy kan Afrikaans praat of skryf nie! Dit is verbasend! Thanks for the lovely comment, my liewe broer! En ek waardeer opreg jou besoek en kommentaar!

      Love and peace, dear brother!

      Tony

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 

      8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Waarde broer Tony...

      I am in the Gees even though I am not in jou land. I have been enjoying it to the fullest, it is nice! I get the drift of jou emosies, my waarde broer. Dankie vir die deel van hierdie.

      Warmest hugs and infinite heavenly blessings,

      Al

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Marijana - thanks for the very positive comment. You warm my heart, really you do!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • profile image

      Marijana Reynders 

      8 years ago

      As always, I just love your informative blogs ... thanks for giving us so much more 'behind the soccer' information. I have referred all I know to this latest blog of yours re the soccer. Embarrassing that I did not know some of meanings and motivations behind the diski dance for instance ... but hey, that's why we have you on home ground to keep us informed. I love the vuvuzela sound that we hear on TV - it takes me back to my childhood in the WTvl and reminds me of sun beetles on a Sunday afternoon. The opening ceremony was heart warming and creative and absolutely fantastic and we are proud to be South Africans (even if living on foreign soil).

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Becky - thanks for coming back and commenting again! That Turkey match must have been exciting.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • BJBenson profile image

      BJBenson 

      8 years ago from USA

      I don't think they played as well as they did against Turkey last year. Now That was a match!!!!We were at a Turkish friends apartment in downtown Adana. It was like being at a stadium. You could hear the whole city watching the game. I will never forget it.

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Equealla - the "gees" is now at fever pitch, since Friday's good showing by Bafana.

      Jandee - I guess Green has had some explaining to to do!

      Becky - you must have loved last night's match. Germany were just sublime, weren't they?

      Thanks all for stopping by and commenting. It all helps the "gees!"

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • BJBenson profile image

      BJBenson 

      8 years ago from USA

      All I can say is GO USA!, Oh I did root for Germany too.

    • profile image

      jandee 

      8 years ago

      too bad we lost it !!!never mind!We didn't really!

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 

      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Ja-nee, "Gees" is here. I live in a rather secluded area, and even here we hear the vuvuzelas from early to late. I just adored Mentalist Acer's "Gees to Bafana Bafana." ?new slogan for S.A. Yes , the idea of the bagpipes is perhaps not such a good one, I'm now exceptionally grateful for the vuvuzela...

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 

      8 years ago

      Sounds like great fun! I coached soccer for six years............ loved it and sometimes miss it, but I never watch sports on television....... and I only watch live streams of my boy's hockey games; he's the only athlete I sit and watch........... just want to see his face!

      Have a great time; looks like they're doin it up in a BIG WAY! Enjoy

      Kaie

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Liks for dropping by and commenting. I appreciate it very much. Just been watching the concert - pretty awesome that was too.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • liswilliams profile image

      liswilliams 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      that's awesome, Tony. You describe this really well. I love this vibe. I got a big flag today hung it in the tree of our driveway :)

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Story - looking forward to seeing you here, dear friend!

      Cars - it is a blast! Indeed the biggest party South Africa has ever seen - and we've seen some!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, good people.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • profile image

      chasingcars 

      8 years ago

      We have been seeing pictures of the children with their colorful horns. Sounds like a lot of fun. Good on you, mate!

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 

      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      This invitation I hold close. My feet dance diski. My heart vibrates vuvuzela. Your bold and bright flag passes. I stand and salute. You are my friend, tonymac!

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Nell - as we are all saying here - "It is here. Feel it!" Thanks for a lovely comment and I hope that the "gees" stays with you! Thanks for the visit.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      HPR - yes, I hope that the young people do show their discipline and commitment to a better world. So far the signs are good, but I just hope that there are no negatives during the festival!

      Thanks for the visit and the comment.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Amillar - yes, the thought of 60000 bagpipes going in a stadium is rather scarier than the vuvuzelas! As I'm typing this comment someone near here is blowing one! And it's just after eight in the morning here and miles from a stadium! The "gees" is here and I can hear it!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Loved you comment!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Story - your enthusiasm is so much appreciated, dear friend. I would love to see and hear you blowing a vuvuzela! Make sure a photographer is at hand when it happens! And please make it to this country - you know you would be most welcome and it's certainly worth a visit.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Tammy - thanks for the comment. Nothing much wrong with watching those very fit young men at all. Sometimes wonder what all that running around is for, though? LOL!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, tony, I have never been particularly interested in football, but I usually follow the world cup. But after reading this, and watching the videos I am so involved now I can't wait to turn on the TV and see your lovely country for myself. I feel that now I know you are out there and have described it so well I feel the gees coming on! lol thanks nell

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Ruby - glad you enjoyed dance vid! It is rather adictive, that beat, isn't it?

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Martyn - it is shaping up to be one helluva party! The "gees" is growing daily, almost hourly! I think some monster hangovers (what we call babalases down here!) are in the making!

      Thanks for the visit and the comment

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Zac - thanks for the visit and the comment. I will try to keep in touch with what's happening and report back here on HubPages. My reporting will most likely be more on the social aspects than on the games, though!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      8 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is the opportune moment for the youngsters of South Africa to show to the world how discipline they are to build up universal brotherhood through sports.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 

      8 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Beautiful game, beautiful land. Listening to these vuvuzelas on the telly I think someone's stood on a wasp bink. Thank God they're not bagpipes though. Can you imagine 60,000 set of bagpipes all going at one time? It would be like cats' hell.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 

      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I am so excited for you! This hub makes me want to turn on the television and find this event, simply because your enthusiasm is so infectious. I am going to post that Diski dance on YouTube so my daughter and her dance company can learn it. I love it!

      Tony, I love the IDEA of your country, contained within the simple phrase, "Black and white, we don't need to fight." The insertion of lions and elephants responding to the upcoming soccer matches made me laugh, but the overall beauty and promise of South Africa has put it on my Wish List of places to visit.

      Good luck! I will be rooting for YOU! Perhaps I will even blow a vuvuzela...

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      8 years ago

      ...Deutch Fussball Bund photo is the wallpaper on the computer screen and that is all I have heard about this week. I kind of have the "gees" about it too. Nothing wrong with watching some very fit men run around a soccer field is there?

      I feel your excitement....(((hugs))) Tammy

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      GREAT HUB! I LIKE THE BEAT OF THE DANCE. I WOULD RATHER DANCE THAN EAT,

    • Sufidreamer profile image

      Sufidreamer 

      8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      I have been following the documentaries and news reports - it looks like you guys are having one helluva party down there.

      Enjoy!

    • Zac828 profile image

      Zac828 

      8 years ago from England

      I can feel the 'gees' too in England, it is getting very exciting and I'm looking forward to the opening game. Keep in touch with scores and the feel, I'd love to know how it is going over there.

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna - yes indeed, noisy and colourful is what it is! And I'm sure we will remember 2010 for many years to come.

      Gus - no I'm not going to any of the games - will do my bit by shouting at the TV!

      Christine - it is fun getting swept up in all the hype around this event. It's a boon for the South African flag too - its never been so popular before!

      Sandy - indeed it is.

      Thanks all for dropping by and commenting. Much appreciated.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Getting the World Cup for 2010 is reason to celebrate.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      I'm not a big fan of any sport, but I have to admit there are times it's fun to get swept up in it all. Hope it's a great event for you!

    • gusripper profile image

      gusripper 

      8 years ago

      You lucky guy.Are you gona see any game?

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I'm not apathetic about sports but it's not top of my list of priorities.

      However I must confess that when the football season starts over here I get in the "gees" of it and start following both my alma maters' college teams AND my city's professioal NFL Cowboys team and other NFL teams I like almost as though I were a real dyed-in-the-wool football fan!

      Basketball has held my interest, as well, especially when I lived in Indiana where "Hoosier Hysteria" rules all during the fall basketball season.

      Of course - the colorful festivities like you describe here make these events more like holiday celebrations than just merely sports events. It's FUN!

      That vuvuzela sounds like it would be useful at New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebration or any of a number of other big "do's"!

      This is a most fun hub and I'm glad you shared all the color and enthusiasm with us, Tony. It will surely be remembered there for many years to come!

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Mick and Mentalist - your visits and comments are deeply appreciated.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      8 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      "Gees" to this insightful Hub and to the Bafana-Bafana!!

    • MickS profile image

      MickS 

      8 years ago from March, Cambridgeshire, England

      excellent bit of work.

      best

      Mick

    • tonymac04 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Brother Dimitris - truth be told I'm not much of a fan either, but just have to get with the "gees" you know!

      Thanks for dropping by anyway.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Not being a football fun, I can only wish you maximum enjoyment out of this even, Brother Tony! :-))

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