Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Flags and Vuvuzelas

Hi. Ruth Ann here. Welcome to my photo tour. We're visiting South Africa during the build up to the FIFA World Cup and the first few matches.
Hi, Aspiring Writer here. I'm accompanying Ruth Ann to give my point of view as we go along.

Signs heralding the World Cup have been in evidence everywhere for months. Flags flutter on cars, bicycles, taxis, buses, buildings, highways, walls, poles, trees, gates. . .  They adorn clothes, finger nails, false eyelashes, sunglasses, cakes, vuvuzelas, shops, markets, menus. . .
World Cup merchandise is on sale at street corners, traffic lights and flea markets as well as in shops, supermarkets and malls. . .
Vuvuzelas blare at all hours of the night and day.
Photos of  bird-shaped seed pods, bees clambering through jacaranda blossoms, beaded  ornaments and other harbingers of an emerging story world fill the memory card of my camera. 
Ever increasing numbers of characters roam through the landscape of my imagination.

On the 11th June I wake up while it is still dark to the blasting of a vuvuzela outside my house. The great day has arrived.
Someone emerges from the throng of characters. He announces that he has heard the 'call to adventure' and asks if I'll tell his story.

Later in the day I sally out to take photoshere's a happy pair setting out to enjoy the World Cup experience.
I offer to write a novel about his journey and my would-be hero sets out.

The next photo, taken inside the Loftus Stadium at one of the first matches, is used with the permission of photographer Derek of Just Footprints Foundation. Derek asks "Where's William?" He describes William as the Ghana soccer supporter in the red and yellow supporter's shirt. He's sitting in block MM, rowJ, seat 74. Can you see him? No, I can't find him either.
I've lost my hero! I can't pick him out in the crowd. The characters all look the same—they're ho-hum.

Of course, it's important to dress appropriately to show which team you support and to add to the vibe reverberating through the country.
Maybe I'll find my hero if I give him clothes fit for his quest.

Just look at all these soccer players! What wonderful memorabilia.
I find him! But he's so wooden—in fact he's a stereotype.

Even the people hard at work join in the excitement and fun.
I give my hero a real job and a goal in life.

Zakumi, the official World Cup mascot, has been sighted all over South Africa. His feet look somewhat grubby in this photo. The hospitable leopard has dyed his hair green--he feels it's the perfect camouflage against the green of the football pitch. 
Aha! Heroes are generally reputed to have feet of clay, so I give mine a flaw. I also add a quirk or two.

At first I think these are yellow bushes or flowers growing next to the highway. As we draw closer I realise they are hands, and each one says, "Ayoba!"  Ayoba means cool and describes the atmosphere in South Africa.
 My hero's come to life and there's only one word to describe him. Ayoba!

Christians have prayed that people from all over the world will be reached with the gospel during the World Cup. Here my friend, Marilyn, shows the flag she made to use in her church's outreach program.
I pray that God will use the words I write to help people to know Him better.

Yesterday the last match of the final 16 teams was played. On Friday it'll be time to put on my Makarapa (soccer headgear unique to South Africa) and watch the quarter-finals. I wonder who'll go through to the semi-finals.
And now I'll don my Writer's Hat and settle down with my laptop to write my hero's story. I wonder what adventures he's going to have.

I hope you enjoyed visiting South Africa at this exciting time. Please come back to our blog on July 8 when Shirl Corder will be sharing some writing insights about her World Cup experiences and posting more photos.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my hero. I'll update you on his adventures in a future blog.


  1. Love the pictures, Ann. Thanks for giving us a sense of FIFA in South Africa, outside of the stadium.
    Dear aspiring writer, I hope your hero turns heads and hearts on his adventure : )

  2. Loved the photos and writers connection! Great insight. My boys were so blessed to be a part of the excitement and are still talking about it!

  3. Great blog, Ruth. Loved the pics. It's been a fascinating time in our country and South Africa has done us proud. I've seen some pretty amazing characters in the soccer crowds that Aspiring Writer could use in her story.

  4. Very impressed Ruth! :-) Interesting to revisit our past holiday destinations from our days in Zimbabwe! keep up the good work. God Bless all the writers. Talk soon Ruth. Judy (Australia)

  5. Super post, Ruth. You have really captured the excitement and festivity that has South Africa in its grip at the moment. As Marion says, "South Africa has done us proud." It's been a wonderful experience so far.
    You've set me a high standard to follow up on, but I'll do my best!
    Aspiring Writer: You have a huge selection of colourful characters, so get writing!

  6. Lovely photos Ruth. And congratulations to South Africa on the successful hosting of this big event.