In a way, post-apartheid South Africa made a fresh start with the 1995 Rugby World Cup—a country wracked by social violence came to support a national team that had once been a hated symbol of racial prejudice.
Social injustices persist in Nelson Mandela’s country that, in a few days from now, will host one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world.
Expectations of the 2010 Football World Cup helping South Africa grow have dimmed. For one, estimates of tourism, a major revenue driver, have fallen. But more striking than the economic impact of the event have been reports about organizers evicting hundreds of shopkeepers from the vicinity of match venues. At stake are corporate contracts and public relations drives.
The 1995 event ended as a sign of unity and hope. As the 2010 event approaches, that uplifting symbolism of the Rainbow Nation has been sadly lacking.