Football Friday rocks the Union Buildings

30 October 2009

Scenes of diski dancing and sounds of vuvuzelas rocked the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday as Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and a host of Cabinet ministers joined 2010 ambassador Lucas Radebe, mascot Zakumi and a host of other VIPs in a colourful endorsement of the Football Fridays initiative.

It was an extraordinary occasion at the seat of government, where strict protocol is usually the order of the day.

Cabinet ministers wearing Bafana Bafana jerseys, including Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, as well as the Deputy President himself, blew their vuvuzelas and danced South Africa’s own diski dance.

The western lawn of the Union Buildings was painted the colours of the South African flag as government officials, 2010 Fifa World Cup™ stakeholders and senior government officials gathered to show support for the national football team and to join in mobilising South Africans to adopt Football Fridays.

The initiative aims to build support and enthusiasm as the countdown to Africa’s first World Cup gains momentum, by getting South Africans to wear a football jersey – first choice being a Bafana Bafana jersey – every Friday until the start of the World Cup in June 2010.

“We would like to make the call to all South Africans, especially public servants, to wear a football jersey every Friday in anticipation of this great celebration coming our way next year,” Motlanthe told the gathered crowd.

He also urged South Africans to learn the diski dance as part of being a good host and preparing to welcome the world in a celebratory style. Doing the dance, he quipped, would also have long-term health benefits.

Former Bafana Bafana captain and 2010 World Cup ambassador Lucas Radebe urged South Africans to participate in the Football Fridays campaign.

“By wearing our shirt every Friday, we will not only show a sense of patriotism but also encourage the national team to do well,” Radebe said. “Let’s all support this campaign and rally behind Bafana Bafana, because they need us as a nation.”

Also in attendance were 2010 Organising Committee (OC) chief executive Danny Jordaan and chairman Irvin Khoza, SA Football Association president Kirsten Nematandani, and members of the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC), custodian of Brand South Africa.

Football Fridays is a joint initiative of the country’s major 2010 partners, namely the OC, the IMC, the Government Communication and Information System, South African Tourism and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Source: BuaNews, with additional reporting by SAinfo