Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fifa Feva

I had an interesting thought today, one of those that makes you go "huh".

I moved to the US in 1986 which was in the middle of the world awareness about apartheid. I had some experiences those early years, as a young adult, that made me just stop telling people where I was from. I would sometimes try to hide my accent on the phone, and (from some not so positive experiences) if I was with a group of African Americans, I would guide the conversation so that it never landed on "so where are you from?"

Well, it's FIFA and everything is South Africa.
People are wearing jerseys on the metro, the games are on EVERYWHERE. They are streaming them in the conference room at work. Every morning the IT guy sends out the schedule.

I went to get a new ID for the Federal building I work in today. Of course, they need my passport, and they look me up. There is a TV in the room... showing the afternoon match, and everyone is talking about South Africa. So when they see where I'm from, all of these African Americans got all excited when they found out that it was South Africa.

After our trip back in December, I realized that I should be proud to claim that I am from a country that had major political change without a civil war. But it didn't really sink in... today I realized, I don't need to have those conditioned responded of a cringe, but instead, should claim my country of origin with pride.

I am from South Africa.

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