18 January 2013
With the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) kick-off looming, South Africans have been urged to show their support for national football team Bafana Bafana by wearing their yellow football jerseys each Friday during the tournament – starting today.
Afcon starts in Johannesburg on Saturday and will play out in five cities – Cape Town, Nelspruit, Durban, Rustenburg and Johannesburg – before the final at Johannesburg’s National Stadium on 10 February.
The Football Fridays campaign was launched a year before the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which took place in South Africa. The campaign was endorsed by South African President Jacob Zuma in a speech delivered the day after the final whistle of the tournament was blown.
“The Football Fridays campaign became highly successful,” said Zuma. “South Africans from all walks of life proudly wore national colours every Friday. It was a meaningful collective experience of a lifetime.”
After the World Cup, Football Fridays evolved into Fly the Flag Fridays and today is known as Magnificent Fridays as it covers all sports in South Africa and not only football.
Keeping the spirit alive
In his post-2010 speech, Zuma reminded South Africa that there were more sporting triumphs to look forward to – if not on the field then certainly behind the scenes with the successful staging of a number of global sporting events.
Since then, events such as the 2012 Champions League T20 tournament have brought thousands of visitors to the country.
Magnificent Fridays urges people to:
- Wear the colours of South Africa’s flag or the shirt of their favourite team, whether it be Bafana Bafana, the Springboks or the Proteas or even Kaizer Chiefs, the Blue Bulls or the Cape Cobras, every Friday;
- Fly the flag at home and in the office;
- Buy South African goods to help create jobs and grow the economy;
- Once a month, give an hour (or more) of their time to helping other people.
At the launch of Magnificent Fridays for Afcon in November, the Department of Sport and Recreation said the campaign planned to recapture the sense of national pride South Africa experienced during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and encourage them to rally behind Bafana Bafana.
“Hosting the Afcon opening match and final in Gauteng is another massive feat for the province,” said a department spokesperson, “and through this campaign we want to ensure that people in the province become a part of the journey to crown Africa’s champion, right here in the home of champions.”