A Global Game

By Dexter Rogers, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 16, 2010

INDIANA (BASN) — World Cup soccer is now in full swing.

The United States team fought to a 1-1 time in their first game against England.

They are in the round of 16 and are set to take on Slovenia.

South Africa was once known as the land of apartheid where whites ruled despite being in the clear minority. Nelson Mandela brought a level of optimism that’s culminated in a new South Africa.

When Mandela emerged from prison in 1990 the walls of apartheid would soon fall.

Well most of them.

While the world is currently gathered in South Africa to cheer on their country and unite there is still a place where apartheid lives. There’s still a place where refuses to embrace the new because it’s still clutched into the days of old.

In little town called Orania the community is 100-percent Afrikaner or what would be considered in America white.

A group of approximately 40 families acquired land and set their own rules. They appear to be happy to be nestled away from the rest of the country that strives to unite.

Public Relations Director John Strydom issued the following, “We can choose who lives here.” Carnel Boshoff spearheaded the formation of the community. Boshoff suggests Afrikaners don’t have to live as one as they feel safer around their own kind.

He says, “Very few people coming here are not affected by crime,”

Boshoff continues about the mindsets of Afrikaners prior to forming Orania.

“They have been robbed or hijacked or something. It affects their mindsets.” The fact such a place still exists doesn’t surprise me.

I’m quite sure there are small communities in America who embrace the ways of the “Ol’ South.” While the rest of the world attempts to constructively move forward there are those who cannot open their minds enough to see that diversity can be good.

One of the beautiful elements about sports is it’s often a gathering place of complete strangers who can quickly engage. Sport provides the opportunity to rally around a common goal and that’s usually to cheer for our teams and be entertained.

In course of engaging often whatever preconceived notions and prejudices we may harbor are temporarily abandoned to enjoy the moment. This is what we are seeing take place in South Africa where a bulk of the sporting world is gathered.

Too often after the games have ceased and the cheering stops the ugly intricacies of life smack us back in the face.

The relaxation and sentiment ceases and the rigors of life are back at the forefront.

While millions abroad are enjoying the World Cup we must simultaneously note places like Orania still exists. While we cannot wait to see who will win Game 7 between the Celtics and Lakers Thursday, we cannot forget racism still exists in America.

So what’s the solution?

We must recognize the past in order to understand the future. Me must understand the historical development of where we reside so we can appreciate where we are today with respect to race-relations.

Bottom line: We all must face ugly truths about race relations around the world and here in America. Here’s where the problem lies: There is a segment of white-America who refuse to acknowledge what race-relations once where in this country.

In America if you are African-American and you speak of race you labeled a racist. The critics can’t assert what’s being suggested is not true: Instead they label the messenger in hopes of eliminating the possible sting of the message being conveyed. This maneuver cleverly excuses the accuser from engaging.

In any event as those of you who continue to watch the World Cup unfold attempt to look beyond what you see. Look beyond the floss and gloss of ESPN’s coverage and the cheering fans attending the games.

Enjoy them, but enjoy them with clarity. While sport is one of the most beautiful institutions that exists it often diverts our attention from more pressing issues that reside in the world.

Sadly there’s a reminder of the old South Africa in Orania. Optimistically many at the World Cup seek to help shape the new South Africa.