26 June 2010

World Cup in Johannesburg

Last weekend we went to the World Cup for the USA vs Slovenia game.  It was my first time in Jo'burg and I must admit that it was my first time to a professional soccer game.  You could feel the World Cup fever the moment you entered the city.  Shirts, hats, vuvuzelas and flags of every nation were being sold on the street (and in the road!).

I was very surprised at how cold it was.  It is winter here now and in Gaborone it gets down to the mid 30's (single digits in celsius) mornings and nights, but daytime temperatures are in the 70's F (low 20's C).  Athough it is only about 4 hours away (if you don't get lost), Johannesburg was significantly colder.  Our warmest day was 55F (13C) and it was below freezing at night. Many people have unheated houses and apartments and that has to be really tough. 

OK on to the game.  We had seats 4 rows from the top of the 64,000 seat stadium at Ellis Park.  It was a very steep decline and difficult to look down without panicing.  But of course you have to look down or you miss the game!

The game tied 2-2, although in the final minutes the US made a third goal that was not counted on some technicality.  I have since heard on all the sports networks that the US should have won the game. 

So what about those vuvuzela noise-makers you have heard so much about? 


Those vuvuzelas were of big concern to me before I went and I wanted them banned along with most of the international media and a lot of fans (but mostly foreigners).  In the end I made peace with them (a.k.a. EARPLUGS) and it turned out not to be a problem at all! The whole controversy about banninng them because they are so incredibly loud was a tough call because the vuvuzelas are a South African tradition at sporting events.  It would have been quite an affront to ban them. All I can say is that I'm glad I had good earplugs.

The fans were mostly rooting for the US team which made it really fun for us.
Dumi's boys, Tino and Zviko, were visiting and it was great watching the game with them and celebrating Zviko's 11th birthday. 

Tonight is the USA vs Ghana game.  I'll be watching in front of a warm, noise-controlled TV!!


  1. Wow, that's great Julie, I too have been watching and the horns are also very loud on the TV.

    When are you coming home for a visit?

  2. Thanks for sharing this -and actually all your wonderful photos and experiences - in Africa. I was glued to the US games, too. This was a totally different inside view - fun to see. I'm glad you had a chance to be there!

  3. This is all so amazing Julie. Thank you for the trip Julie. Junior says you are lucky to see Africa. Happy New year Julie, keep up the incredible journey. xoxo