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My World Cup memories

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Dan Walker | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 7 July 2010

I received an e-mail last weekend that mirrored a couple of tweets that have come my way over the last few days. The people who sent them all wanted to know what I will remember most about my trip around South Africa.

Seeing as the BBC bus is in the final week of its 5,000-mile journey, I thought this was a good time to answer that particular question.

When we set out on our journey, the plan was to provide a cultural and historical context to the football and see how the country - and indeed the whole continent - is being affected by the World Cup.

It would be impossible to boil down my experiences to only one abiding memory, so I have decided to outline six things that will always stick with me.

Incredible people

All of us on the bus have made some lifelong friends but I'm talking about the people who are genuinely doing all they can to make a difference.

Miriam, from the Zenzele orphanage in Finetown, is top of that list. Her determination to improve the lot of 60 kids with the HIV virus when she herself is struggling with Aids is inspirational.

In Cullinan, we stumbled upon Moira, a 24-year-old who has trained a marching band that will play at the World Cup's closing ceremony on Sunday. The band members freely admit that without Moira's help they would be struggling with drink, drugs and teenage pregnancy, just like huge numbers of the young people that live in their township.

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Deon, the Afrikaner farmer, was about as manly as it is possible to be, while Georghina's story from Nelspruit was a bit of a heartbreaker. She lives just 500 yards from the new stadium but isn't sure if she'll be able to provide for her family once the World Cup leaves town.

Special scenery

I love a good mountain and the one in Cape Town kicked our trip off in style. But travelling around South Africa, you soon realise Table Mountain has plenty of rivals.

It is not just mountains that caught my eye either. The Big Hole in Kimberley was a winner while Cape Agulhas, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, was mind-blowingly beautiful. The fact that a swim south will take you all the way to Antarctica makes it all the more significant.

Then there was our trip to Rorke's Drift. As a student of history, I was fascinated by the 'real' story of what happened and the 96 'inaccuracies' in the film Zulu.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of colonial imperialism, standing on the spot where thousands of men (both British and Zulu) lost their lives at Isandlwana, churns the stomach and tingles the spine at the same time.

The weight of history

Wherever you go in South Africa, the history both disturbs and inspires. The struggle against Apartheid is well documented but our visit to Soweto and the interview we conducted with Lukhanyo Calata, whose father was one of the murdered Cradock Four, will live long in the memory.

Dan visits the Zenzele orphanage

The country is not proud of its complicated past but democracy is only 16-years-old in South Africa and there is still a lot to learn.

Amazing animals

We have managed to see two of the 'Big Five' of this trip. Rhinos and elephants but no lions, leopards or buffalo, who must have been hiding in the bushes.

Being stalked by a five-tonne miffed elephant in Pilanesberg National Park was a little unnerving but thankfully he decided to have a swipe at Argentina fans in a Volvo rather than our little people carrier.

Top prize goes to the bird that decided to swallow a fish whole while we were parked by a river. It was like watching a human trying to nail a water melon in one go!

As for the feathered creature that flew through our bus window at a combined speed 100mph. His/her body has still not been found.

Fine football

After an almost forgettable start (I draw your attention to goalless draw between France and Uruguay) and a wobble in the middle (when Brazil and Portugal also played out a 0-0 draw), the football on offer has been great to watch.

England were garbage, the empty seats have been frustrating for the locals and embarrassing for Fifa but the Ghana against Uruguay game will go down as one of THE World Cup moments.

The way the whole of Africa got behind the Black Stars was wonderful and the incident involving 'volleyball legend' Luis Suarez produced perhaps the most significant 'last kick of the game' in the history of football.

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That penalty could have sealed a man's legacy, a country's destiny and a continent's history but sadly Asamoah Gyan hit the bar and Ghana went out on penalties.

Huge shame.

Food glorious food

South Africa offers a plethora of culinary delights but our staple diet on the bus has been sandwiches. The team favourite is a combination of cheese, ham, mayonnaise and salt & vinegar crisps.

We found a chocolate bar called 'Nosh' that was a bit like a 'Topic' with the volume turned up. I also discovered how good carrots taste when you haven't eaten vegetables for a fortnight.

Worst meal of the trip goes to the one cameraman Stephen Pook devoured and then promptly brought back up. Disturbingly tasteless 'Ghost Pops' and a 'Turkish Delight' were washed down with a gruesome banana milkshake called 'Crazy Dog'.

Feel free to jot down your own memories of the World Cup and don't forget you can follow the rest of the trip on twitter @danwalkerbbc


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Dan

    I yesterday posted my first post (double use of the word post, poor English) on your previous blog, having been sat in the bushes watching for months.

    Thanks again for another tip top blog - very impressed as I usually read your blogs for the light-hearted banter involved. The seemless change of tone without any sacrifice in quality shows you to be a very versatile and talented writer.

    Anyway, enough with the brown nosing. The random name dropping in your blogs has inspired a competition between me and a friend where for every day during the world cup we post our status as a world cup legend. ie. "Simon is Toni Polster". The most random name at the end wins a pint. Here's my list so far, I hope you're a fan.

    Georgi Hagi, Egil Ostenstaad, Stan Lazaridis, Lars Bohinen, Efan Ekouku, Yoran Letchkov, Francis Oman-Biyik, Stephane Chapuisat, Davor Suker, Cobi Jones, Alain Sutter, Gordan Durie, Robert Prosinecki, Hristo Stoichkov, Barjuan Sergi, Robert Jarni, Trevor Steven, Pat Bonner, Andy Goram and Andy Goram, Pavel Srnicek, Thomas Ravelli, Dmitri Kharine, Roque Junior, Carlos Valderama, Roy Wegerle, Taribo West, Gilles De Bilde

  • Comment number 2.

    What a waste of taxpayers money. How this kind of expense is justified is beyond me. If I never hear another half-time "interview" with a fan it'll be too soon.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sounds like you've had a great time but have to disagree on the football front, I think the quality all the way through this tournament has been poor. Except for the Germans who have been pretty consistent throughout. Lets hope for a better semi final than yesterday, which was dull bar a couple of quality goals a 1 min drama at the end

  • Comment number 4.

    As well as the Nosh chocolate bar you should also try the Tempo - a cadbury bar unique to South Africa. Its closest relative is probably the Boost bar but its much more chocolatey!

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Dan,

    I watched the short clips of you on the coast between the two oceans on the BBC a few weeks ago, I half expected to see you eating fish and chips if your usual blogs are anything to go by!!

    Luis Suarez must have cult status back home now!

  • Comment number 7.

    Hey Dan, I've really enjoed reading your blogs. As a teacher, I've used them to teach and they've really opened up the eyes of a lot of the kids I teach. Anybody who's ever said that football is just a game, couldn't be more wrong. The game transcends that in more ways than one...

  • Comment number 8.

    I know that you are only trying the show South Africa in a good light after so many over-hyped 'bad' news stories, but I have to agree with post 2. This is a football tournament - I don't remember anyone roaming around Italy, France or the US looking for 'good' news stories during previous World Cups!

    You are incredibly fortunate to have had a fantastic 'working' holiday that most of us will never have the chance to emulate, all at licence fee payers' expense!

  • Comment number 9.

    Referees cannot possibly be relied upon for offside decisions. FIFA must stop their Luddite ways and bring in technology.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Dan, good to see another blog at last instead of all those twitterings which I just can't keep up with...but maybe that's just me? :( It seems you've had to cram all your wonderful memories into a realtively short piece, but what wonderful and contrasting memories they are..deserved of a book methinks?

    The football seems to have played second fiddle on your trip which isn't necessarily a bad thing given the general quality? Bit concerned about the shortage of wildlife you managed to see (only 2 out of the big 5 turned up heh?), but I suppose the 3 Lions weren't there that long? My abiding memory will be of that little bird perched 'guard' on top of Algeria's net...wonder where it is now? Did you come across any witch-doctoring on your travels?

  • Comment number 11.

    2. At 12:07pm on 07 Jul 2010, tintyman wrote:
    What a waste of taxpayers money. How this kind of expense is justified is beyond me. If I never hear another half-time "interview" with a fan it'll be too soon.


    Yup. The BBC bus is the new 'Andy Townsend's Tactics Truck' in terms of how well regarded it is by viewers.

  • Comment number 12.

    @ 2 8 & 11,

    The World Cup IS a football tournament, a professional football tournament. but good on FIFA for using professional sport as a lever to help to raise the profile of developing continent and facilitate improvements in its economy and infrastructure. within the BBC coverage The Tour Bus has helped to raise awareness of issues in RSA whilst at the same time provided some veiwing interest for people like my wife and daughter who have no interest in football but have had to put up with me and my son hogging the TV for the past 3 weeks.

    Good on FIFA and well done BBC

  • Comment number 13.

    Travel on license payer's money around South Africa during the World Cup!

    Dear BBC where do I spend my CV to? :o)

  • Comment number 14.

    Good afternoon everybody. I come to you live from just outside the stadium in Durban. We are loosening up nicely for tonight's game.

    Thanks to those of you who have commented so far. I always knew that the BBC bus would come under fire from some quarters - it was always going to be an easy target.

    I am not going to sit here and defend the job we are doing because I know (as StewieJT #8 has highlighted) that we are in a very privileged position of being paid to travel around and watch the world cup. But before some of you throw your licences upon the pyre can I just say this.

    I am a passionate football fan but I fundamentally believe that the world cup is just about football. Ask the people of Germany, South Korea, France or any of the recent host cities and they will tell you that's the case. The tournament drags in millions of casual viewers and as Sonny (#12) points out we are trying to inform, educate and entertain the whole family with our coverage on the BBC.

    South Africa is a fascinating country without the football but the world cup has given us all the chance to learn a bit more about its history and culture and that can't be a bad thing as greg theoharis (#7) mentions with regards to the kids in his school.

    The BBC puts a lot of time and effort into how it covers a world cup and the bus was part of the plan this time round because it's the first time Africa has hosted a tournament and it was a great way to get around and see as much as possible. I should say it's also a lot cheaper than flying people all over the place!

    pamihe (#4) I have gone big on the Tempo... tremendous chocolate bar and a real winner.

    iaincress (#11) Now come on... 'Andy Townsend's Tactics Truck' only lasted a week and we've been out here for 5. Can you remember who the first guest was on the tactics truck? I think it might have been Ugo Ehiogu.

    Let me know what you think and keep the comments coming.

    See you soon.

    Pat Bonner inspired by SimonC1981 (#1)

  • Comment number 15.

    I'd forgotten all about the Tactics Truck.. Man that was awful.

    I enjoyed what I saw of the bus, always telling a good story, and providing respite from some of the games I sat through.

    Glad you've enjoyed it Dan, here's hoping that the three remaining matches are as awesome as possible.

    Robbie Earle

  • Comment number 16.

    Questions..questions..Dan, do you know what's going to become of the bus after the tournaments' over? Is it to be shipped back to Blighty to do the rounds up and down the country with Footie Focus next season or stay in South Africa as a travelling education/media centre for the locals? Have you stocked up on loads of extra footage to air during the next footie season including any unspotted player talent in the townships that have really blown you away or have we seen everything?

    Apart from you guys and your travels we've been starved of the sights and sounds of the real South Africa so I for one salute your efforts!

  • Comment number 17.

    In defence of Andy Townsend's Tactics Truck the problem wasn't anything to do with the truck.....

    By the next tournament I hope someone at the BBC will figure out how to put a delay on the Radio 5 Live commentary so that it synchronises with the picture on ITV.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Dan,

    Love your work, mate. Too bad you can't even scratch your nose without someone saying it's a waste of BBC money. There's always a few I s'pose.

    You are plain wrong about one thing, though. Table Mountain doesn't actually have any rivals in South Africa, or anywhere else. Did you notice the waterfalls off the top after the rains?

    Sugar Loaf? Pah! Fuji? Pointy, yeah, but...

  • Comment number 19.

    @17 - alas, the best bit about the Tactics truck was the Truck itself.

    Maybe the bus could be used as Lee Dixon's Punditry Bus?

    Jay Simpson

  • Comment number 20.

    Perhaps I am getting old, but watching the Germany v Spain game this evening I find that the continuous cacaphony created by spectators blowing horns, trumpets and other miscellaneous instruments very off putting. The noise is continuous, and sounds like hundreds of car horns being pushed simultaneously. The noise almost blanks out any sound of the human voice - whether cheering, or booing, or whatever.

    Has anyone considered that banning such instruments from matches like this would make watching (and listening) a far more pleasurable experience.

  • Comment number 21.

    Earth to #20, do you copy? :)

  • Comment number 22.

    Dan, great blog and as a saffer in the uk for the last 12 yrs made me very very homesick! As far as I'm concerned tax-payers money very well spent, coverage has been a joy to watch.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Dan, compliments on the blog, as mentioned above you've changed the style from lighthearted to more serious effortlessly, well done.

    I haven't been able to see all your bus reports, I've opened a bar in North Holland so mostly watched the games with the punters on Dutch tv, but the reports I have seen were informative and well presented and gave me an insight in a country that I admittedly know little about. Don't worry too much about the Boo Brigade moaning about wasting tax payers money, they're just jelous (me too ;p) and some people just love to moan no matter what.

    The WC shouldn't just be about football, it should be about a celebration of life and culture, giving us a glimpse into people's lifes we would never get to meet. I enjoyed todays episode about the fans who helped construct a house for a family in need, after years of negativity surronding the travelling English fans it was great to see these guys making a positive impact in a foriegn country and building something rather then destroying it.

    Back to the important stuff...... Sandwiches with crisps is a classic, always been top on my snack list, easy to purchase and easy to make, a globe trotters best friend.

    Keep up the bloging, it's the only decent one since the CC and RR blogs got cut (cheers waste of taxpayer money moaners)

    Hup Holland Hup!

    In honour of #1; Kazimierz Deyna (you won't get pretty more random then that)

  • Comment number 24.

    The football was crap. England flops big time in this tournament. Worst World cup in recent memories on par with Italia 90 and USA 94. And that damn Vuvuzelas makes it worse!

  • Comment number 25.

    Not sure if it is more native to Namibia which is where I've eaten but please tell me you've eaten biltong whilst over there? One of the tastiest snacks going.

    Phil Stamp.

  • Comment number 26.

    I want Dan Walker to compose a best bits of his tour to the soundtrack of Toto - Africa... An obvious choice you may say but an inspired one.. we can then all relax and 'crank up the Toto'

    Sunday Oliseh

  • Comment number 27.

    #1 Why have you given your analysis of how well the blog is written!?!

    "The seemless change of tone without any sacrifice in quality shows you to be a very versatile and talented writer." Oh dear...

    Francois Omam-Biyik

  • Comment number 28.

    To the few people complaining about the use of tax-payer's money and the irrelevance of the BBC Bus's trip around South Africa - two things:

    1. It's such an inconsequential thing to complain about - you probably don't understand what a treasure the BBC is until you live elsewhere - as a South African, who has an only marginally-good public broadcaster in the SABC (besides our pay-tv offerings), I am continually amazed at the brilliant selection and quality news and entertainment the British have in the BBC. It stands head-and-shoulders above almost any other broadcaster out there. To complain about a bus trip is petty.

    2. The World Cup that billions across the world have enjoyed has been paid for (in the majority) by South African tax-payers, FIFA work hard but also makes a massive amount of money off it. The real risk and sacrifice have been by South African organisers and the South African public. The delays to traffic, the building work, the closures, the extra hours put in by thousands of civil servants, police and general volunteers have all been done by South Africans, and while we gain much from the process in pride, exposure and spirit, believe me, the balance sheet will not show monetary profit at the end. For the BBC to provide some background on our country and the events surrounding and away from the stadiums is a very worthwhile effort and appreciated and welcomed by us all.

    Thanks for the attention from the British, we'd love to have you visit sometime :-)

  • Comment number 29.

    It is a shame that the money that you can afford to pour into the running of the world cup does not seem to be able to stretch into dragging the slum dwellers in the townships into the 21st. century!

  • Comment number 30.

    Great blog Dan. My meories

    England v Germany: Stuck on an aeroplane with no TV or Radio - devastatin.

    Spent the following 10 days in Spain on family holiday. Mental atmosphere for every Spain game - topped off with the Quarter final win.

    Spain v Germany: Stuck on an aeroplane with no TV or Radio - Even more devastating. Thought about changing the flights when i heard match was the second semi.

    proper memories: Updates from twitter while on hols.

    Your photos on twitter. Classic. Bus of dreams updates!

    TEAMS succeeding (GHANA, URG... PARA...) and not the superstars.


    THOSE TERRIBLE HORNS. Spent the first two two weeks watching the box with no sound on. I either got used to it, or it died down as the tourament progressed.

    Espaniol, Espaniol


  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Dan
    Thanks for the great blog. Despite the 'negative' comments posted this has been a great way to share what a beautiful country SA is with a wider audience. Having lived there many years ago, I know how enthusiastic they are about football and this has really come across in your features. The SA people have embraced the World Cup like no other before, and if a small percentage of readers or viewers can be inspired to go visit this will help provide a much longer legacy, rather than listen to some of the 'no-go' publicity that the country gets.
    Some of the football could have been more entertaining, but the atmosphere has bben great, even with the Vuvuzelas

  • Comment number 32.

    Well done The Netherlands on reaching the finals of WK2010.

    Arjen Robben – what a sporting legend, deserves at least a gold medal – nearest to him must be Tom Daley, Tom must be pleased there is such an age difference otherwise Tom would have very serious competition for diving!

    Arjen Robben is the best and most regular diver of all !

  • Comment number 33.

    No. 29,

    Yes - expenditure on the World Cup in the face of poverty is an easy target, and in many cases a perfectly valid one. It's been VERY controversial over here, don't get me wrong. However, it's not as simple or straightforward an issue as has been made out. Over time, we've gained a lot of infrastructure in one go that, while due to arrive anyway, would've taken much longer to be approved or completed had the World Cup not lit a fire under people at the top. Basic, and advanced, infrastructure benefits a lot of people and businesses in the long run - increased exposure, better infrastructure and smoother public services go a LONG way to improving the economy and life in general for the entire country. Increased police staffing, training and presence improve life for everyone and lay foundations for higher standards in public services, and transport improvements improve life for the poor most of all.

    Yes, it obviously benefits some more than others, but the overall effect is a positive one. We ARE a third-world country with a lot of problems, but we've also sorely needed something to enhance unity in a highly diverse country. The general mood, pride and united goal has helped people remember the ties that bind us, even in the midst of so much disparity.
    No one expected it to be a magic broom to sweep away all problems - but it HAS been unexpected in how genuinely uniting and uplifting it has been during a collective national low. I guess we could choose to be cynical and call out all the wrongs and what-ifs and point out the problems. The World Cup is done though, and the majority of us choose to be happy and positive for our future.

  • Comment number 34.

    Roger Milla, Toto Schillaci, Marius Lacatus, Dragan Stojkovic, Michel, Uli Steilike, Trifon Ivanov, Bebeto, Martin Vasquez, Enzo Schifo, Jan Ceulemanns, Frankie Vercauteren, Tafarel, Julio Cesar, Falcao, Socrates, Carlos Valderamma, Hugo Sanchez, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana, Maxim Bossis, Archie Gemmill, Marco Tardelli, Ramon Quiroga, Teofillo Cubillas, Smolarek, Lato, Boniek, Manny Kalz, Pierre Littbarksi, Mario Kempes, Eric Gerets, Pavel Nedved, Patrick Battiston, Dominique Rocheteau, Tresor, Gerry Armstrong, Norman Whiteside, Billy Hamilton, Luis Arconada, Camacho, Junior, David Narey, Oleg Blokhin, Shengelia, Baltacha, Burruchaga, Walter Zenga, Joel Bats, Dasayev, Careca, Zubizaretta, Soren Lerby, Michael Laudrup, Enzo Francescoli, Hans Peter Briegel, Paolo Futre, Tomas Schuhravy, John Harkes, Tony Meola, Oman Biyik, Popescu, Dumitrescu, Vasyl Rats, Stuart McCall, Jonny Ekstrom, Freddy Rincon, Alen Boksic, Marc Degryse, Yoon Deuk Yeo, Hong Myung Bo, Jan Wouters, Roy Keane (oops)

  • Comment number 35.

    @ No 28 .... I agree wholeheartedly with both of your points.
    I wish I was able to see the BBC coverage an not just read the blogs.

    @ No. 29 .... you sound like one of the people who can never do the math to understand that taking the Lotto Jackpot and "sharing" it among the half million or so who only choose 3 numbers correctly, will only give each one an addition R10 or so.

    South Africa is a 3rd World eveloping country, an as with most of them is hugely overpopulated. With a "official" population of 45 Million (but often estimated at closer to 60 Million), we have only 5,5 Million tax-paying citizens. Estimates range from 13.8 Million getting some sort of Govt. grant (ie being supported by the 5.5 million) to up to 40% being benefitted by the Govt. in some way, be it direct grants, government employment, or whatever other form of "subsidisation".

    The R3.2 Billion "spent" o the World Cup, divied by the 30 milion to 40 million you would rather have seen the money "spent" on, would have given each one how much exactly? And lasted how long, achieving what? You do the math.

    Yes, many of the stadia will probably turn out to be under-utilised, or even complete "white elephants", but besides the stadia we have had a major boost in other infrastructure - most notably roads, airports and the Gautrain and Reya Vaya busses. Believe it or not, this assists the productivity of the country as a whole, and may even help in boosting available jobs as the international economic crisis begins to "lift".

    However, probably of the biggest benefit is the boot in internationa visitors, with their inflow of foreign currency, and this is something which we would obviously wih to see continue. To this end, the eposure gained from the broadcasting of matches and World Cup News reports hemselves, is helped substantially by associated coverage - such as that provided by the numerous blogs and the BBC Bus reports etc.

    So, from a Proud South African, many thanks for a great blog and some welcome, and meaningful, international TV exposure for our country.

    I really hope that all the international visiors have had a great time - certainly all those I have met and spoken with have - and we look forward to them returning for future holidays. Hopefully their friends, family, work and business associates, and many of the viewers who got to see some of our country by way of reports such as those from the BBC Bus, will also come visit in the future. They will discover just how beautiful our country is, and how friendly and hospitible the people are.

    Thank you BBC !!

    Mike Wiggill - proudly South African

  • Comment number 36.

    #27 IUTBDBNID - why have you given an analysis of my post? Oh dear.

  • Comment number 37.

    I for one have really enjoyed both the blogs and reports provided by Dan and the team while the WC has been going on. It has given an insight into the problems in SA and the things being done to resolve them. Granted, perfection hasn't been achieved after the WC being held there.... but as the old saying goes 'Rome wasn't built in day'. Congratulations South Africa on successfully hosting footballs centre piece!

  • Comment number 38.

    Some excellent posts fom our SAfrican participents especially Mr Mike Wiggill aka HotdogSalesman. I'll have a zen hotdog please sir. (one with everything)

    Regarding the "white elephants" maybe they could be incorparated into an urban safari tour. ;p

    #36 SimonC1981,


  • Comment number 39.

    I would agree with Dan's comments, hosting the WC is more than just about football.

    I went all the way from China to visit South Africa - partly to watch England, but thankfully also to tour the country and see as much as I could see. As a result I stood on Table Mountain, visited a township in Cape Town, as well as Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and then spent some time on safari. Any trip to a new country should involve some aspect about learning about the people & their culture, and I have to say I felt a bit sorry for some fans who had travelled & just sat in the pub every day watching every single game - they missed a great opportunity

    Full credit to the South Africans, they saw this as more than football also. The whole country was into the spirit - even the crew on SA Airways were wearing Bafana Bafana shirts. They saw it as a coming out party to the world, similar to Beijing in the 2008 Olympics, and they grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

    And as for the vuvuzelas - annoying on TV maybe, but essential in the ground. The atmosphere would have been nothing without them & my England vuvuzela(!) sits proudly on my desk!

    but one question Dan - how did you not see a Buffalo? they're huge!!

    John Lukic

  • Comment number 40.

    Waste of taxpayers/ license payer money???? what a load of rubbish. Taking that logic to its fullest extent would mean we wouldn't have a BBC. Some of the BBC's reports on South Africa have been amazing i.e Mark Lawrenson's report on the battle of Spion Kop.

    If your so worried about your money beeing wasted then throw out your TV, burn the TV license and go sit in a dark room somewhere counting out your pennies. Thinking about how clever you have been saving cash.

    Great blog again Dan. For a man with your appetite though sounds like you have been a little timid in trying real South Africa cuisine i.e. meat!

  • Comment number 41.

    Greetings and salutations...

    Thanks for all the comments so far. Good to see there is some strong support for the BBC out there.

    We are just travelling from Durban to Joburg for the final weekend of the world cup. Sorry I don't have the time to go through all the comments but my access is patchy at best.

    We are passing the time on the trip by trying to come up with a FishXI. 4 3 best so far are Papaya Bouba Diop, Tony Apricottee and Fig Inge Bjornabye.

    See you soon.

    Mango Di Canio

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry to flog a dead horse here, but my last point of irritation with comment from #8 StewieJT is that NO, of course the BBC didn't do quite as much of this sort of thing in Italia 90, or France or the USA because it wasn't actually practical back then!

    To do anything vaguely similar in previous tournaments (bar Germany 2006) would have been vastly more expensive if even possible. The Scrooge's out there may choose not to remember this, but in 1990, 94, 98, there either WASN'T a World Wide Web in existence yet, or it was relatively unknown or inaccessible and impractically slow for this sort of thing. Technology breakthroughs in mobile communications, speed and availability of bandwidth, and ubiquity of Internet access is what makes something like the BBC Bus possible without the BBC having to spend vastly more on a full broadcast-kitted truck, satellite uplinks and associated support staff and equipment to do essentially the same thing. Relative to an effort like that, I'd guess the BBC Bus is an extremely cheap venture.

  • Comment number 43.


    A Fish XI? Sounds like its just a Food XI. If so, I would like to add the following:

    Tony Doritos
    Dennis Pies
    Paul Mince
    Gary Jelly

    Jason Cundy

  • Comment number 44.

    On a second look, is it a fruit team you are going for? Perhaps Pear Fransen (sp) could be in there. Or Steve McBananaman?

  • Comment number 45.

    My fault friends... I meant FruitXI not FishXI.

    Sorry about the confusion.

    Efan Ekoconut

  • Comment number 46.

    World Cup – the Ostrich Press

    In the midst of the month-long love fest of the world's media with South Africa, I see little here or elsewhere of the numbers that tell something of the serious problems that inflict that unfortunate land. A few examples: During an average world cup game 3.7 people are murdered in South Africa (5.1 if it goes into extra time and a total of about 1550 from the first kickoff to the final final whistle), at least 7.4 raped, 25 victims of armed robbery, and 40 of violent assault. I suppose this is all ok given the contribution of the vuvuzela to world culture and journalists' reluctance to bite hands that feed them.

    Perhaps the main abomination of the whole PR exercise was the spending of about 2 billion dollars on building and upgrading ten stadiums in a country with large numbers of homeless, hungry, unemployed, and uneducated citizens needing decent healthcare and other basics – bread and circuses indeed, but unfortunately without the bread. I guess denial isn’t just da name of a river in Africa.

  • Comment number 47.

    everyone is entitled to their opinion but I thought your blog was excellent and thoroughly enjoyed it (maybe because I was trying to write something similar...)
    Fair enough for people to question the use of taxpayers money but let's be realistic, the cost of this exercise was a drop in the ocean compared to e.g. Jonathan Ross's inflated salary.
    It was important to raise awareness about some of the issues in South Africa. The World Cup has a wider context than just what happens on the pitch over 90 mins and having just returned from 3 weeks in South Africa I'm sure the vast majority of people at the tournament appreciated that.
    My abiding memory was the kindness and generosity of the South African people. Am sure that the goodwill they generated will help to drive tourism and other associated benefits for many years to come.
    Can't wait for Brazil. That's going to be special.

  • Comment number 48.

    Its great to see the bits of South Africa that are off the tourist trail, the real South Africa and people with much harder lives than our own here back in the UK. Listening to them is sometimes heartbreaking but uplifting in how many who suffer hardship just get on with it, without moaning about the deal they've been given in their lives, it should make us all humble when the hardest thing that many of us have most days is the journey to work and back. Thanks BBC for bringing these stories and the journey, not just of the football but of a part of the country and its people, especially that they'll all be forgotten again come July 12th.

  • Comment number 49.

    Dan, for your FruitXI

    Matt Appleby?

  • Comment number 50.

    World Cup is not just football. But it is also the story of the entire life world unfolding out there. The locals, the visitors, the flora, fauna, food, history, culture and aspirations of South Africa, the land and its people is nicely hinted at in the well written blog.

    Dan, thanks for the fine effort.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 51.

    Hey Dan,

    Sounds to me like you are in a huge catch 22. Had you only reported on the matches in South Africa and done nothing else you would have been faced with a barrage of comments asking you what you did with your spare time considering the expense getting you and your team there! So well done and THANX from all us S.Africans.

    One question.....Have you had REAL Creamsoda (Cream Sober-if it has been a long night before) made by SpaLetta?

    Oh and 46......refer back to 35!!!! Slowly slowly catch a monkey! It's only been 16yrs and commentary from the BBC during a massive country showcase such as the World Cup will boost future earnings, hopefully exceeding the capital outlay.....But then again you probably have a much better approach with your knowledge of how the African system works?

  • Comment number 52.

    Mr Dan Walker – compliments and well done you have made good reportage and an excellent blog. Also, general good coverage by the BBC.

    Republic of South Africa ~ ZA – you deserve mention for a wonderful tournament although many of us feel rather humble. Good luck after WK 2010 for your country.

    Well done Spain, bad luck Netherlands, even the greatest diver in the game could not secure a win with clear chances on goal (Arjen Robben).

    A difficult game for Harold Webb yet he came through – BIG TIME! Well done.

  • Comment number 53.

    Congratulations on the blog Dan. What it has highlightes is that the World Cup and football in general is about more than just what takes place on the pitch. South Africa has clearly flourished as a host nation and by seeing Spain emerge victorious, hopefully Spain can put aside its own devisions finally too. And football's only a game, right?

  • Comment number 54.

    Top 5 World Cup Moments of Female Saffer-Brit:

    1. The sound of vuvzelas in the supermarket on the day it all started, and in the suburbs when Bafana scored
    2. White South Africans packed onto trains in Cape Town for the first time in a long time - smiling.
    3. South Africans of every hue on the streets partying together in Cape Town, waving all those SA flags
    4. Ghana flags on cars with SA number plates (and Dutch flags after the Suarez incident)
    5. Today - 8 sets of kids playing football on any scrap of land they could find along the freeway

    Top Post WC Dream for SA

    1. One goal - education for all

    Second Post WC Dream for SA

    1. Soccer development - so much talent - so little cash

    Thanks to Dan and BBC for your part in telling SA as it is.

  • Comment number 55.

    Fruit related players

    Jason Wilcox's orange pippin ;-) (its an apple by the way)

  • Comment number 56.

    Dan #45 - how many times did you have to check your spelling on Efan Ekoconut before you posted to make sure you weren't be rude?

    BTW is Cream Soda still green in Salf Afrika ?

    Fruit XI
    Maynor FIGueroa

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    I have just returned from South Africa where I was privileged to waatch 9 games including the final. I got to see Spain 5 times and thought they deserved their win but would have liked to have seen more goals. I drove around the country on my own and felt very safe. I clocked up 9,000kms. I saw stunning scenery and met wonderful people. I loved Durban and Cape Town but wasn't struck on Joburg. I found out about a woman who comes from my county, Cornwall, who exposed the awful conditions in the Boer concentration camps. Her name was Emily Hobhouse. I visited Soweto and the Apartheid Museum and found out so much about the history of South Africa. I also went to Rorke's Drift & Iswandlma. I went to three game reserves, saw whales at Hermanus and dolphins near Durban. I made a video diary for my local BBC station and reported everyday for Radio Sussex. I had a fantastic time and now feel it my duty to let everybody know back in the UK what a lovely place South Africa is.

  • Comment number 59.

    WHY is a BBC Sport's correspondent covering matters relating to history and politics?

    There are more than sufficient websites and cable channels dedicated to those specific subject matters.

    BBC Sport Budget = SPORT.

    I am also extremely bothered about the evident saturation of BBC employees whenever these sporting events take place.

    Gary Lineker introduces Dan Walker (who doesn't actually 'report' anything) before introducing someone else ...

    Good grief.

    'Dan Walker has never worked on a Sunday due to his beliefs ... '

    I may start refusing to pay my license fee due to mine.

  • Comment number 60.

    As a Saffa raised on Rugby Union I watched more football during FWC 2010 than ever before, particularly as I have been resident in the UK for the last 22 years. What kept me watching was the "magazine programs" produced by the BBC Bus, and to get an insight into how SA is viewed by foreigners - i.e the BBC and ITV teams that covered the event.

    I believe the final bill for FWC 2010 is around R40 billion (£3.5b)
    The upside of this is that the country gained infrastructure and jobs were created.
    Whether this money should have been spent on houses, schools, training teachers, hospitals etc for the masses will be debated until the cows come home.
    It must be remembered that the same amount of money was spent on buying unnecessary armaments when the new Government came to power in 1995.
    Bottom line: TIA = This Is Africa.
    We have seen it all before from Ghana in 1957 to Zimbabwe in 1980
    This is a direct outcome of international pressure by the liberal lobby in the west to change Africa.
    You reap what you sow.

    That includes the kick-backs that those in positions of influence made during this process.
    The average fellow in the townships is probably worse off today than he was in 1990 when all the apartheid legislation was repealed.

    The event also created a massive "feel-good" diversionary vibe throughout the country - something that the people sorely needed after years of frustration at an incompetent and corrupt government.

    The final account?
    I have read that FIFA scored all the plumb deals - media rights, sponsorship deals, merchandising revenues etc - and will bank close on £4billion
    SA Soccer will get the crumbs from the table - the ticket sale revenues which are far lower than expected - at about £3 million max.
    The greed of the airlines, hoteliers and other infrastructural overheads, plus the recession in Europe, plus the cost of the tickets, plus the countries crime reputation kept the foreign fans away.
    South African tax payers, particularly at city level where the stadiums were built and refurbished, are now picking up the tab for the financial hangover
    You reap what you sow.

    As for the football: I am no connoisseur on the game and hoped that I would be inspired by this feast of watching the world's best in action to become a fan. Sadly this was not the case. England were mediocre at best and for me the rest was turgidly dull, dreary and boring with hardly a moment of breathtaking skill to set me on fire. The pathetic diving, blatant fouling and inept refereeing was a major turn off. I returned to my default position that it is not a beautiful game but more mush for the masses. I look forward to the Rugby Union Autumn Internationals with far more anticipation and excitement. The best thing to come out of FWC 2010 is that Tottenham Hotspur and the New Zealand Rugby Union have banned vuvuzela from their stadium and the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

    On Dan's BBC Bus and his background programs as well as those of ITV:
    I thought they were an excellent innovation and provided welcome relief from the interminable pre-current-post match analysis and sporting political mumbo jumbo.
    It was a massive subject they tried to cover but at least a glimpse of South Africa's scenic beauty, history and [political complexities was provided.
    Sadly I could not help but get the feeling that the subliminal message in all these programmes was; poor-downtrodden-black man-at-the expense-of-the-white settlers. Even the Boere were cast in a negative light at having the audacity to shoot back at the British at Spionkop
    I saw no coverage of the genocide perpetrated by the British on the Boer women and children in the concentration camps.
    Nor was there anything about the white Afrikaners starving in squatter camps today as the Government has forced them out of the job market simply because they are white and denies them any support benefits as they were "previously advantaged"
    Nor was there anything about the on-going murders and assassinations of white farmers since 1994 and as the FWC 2010 was in progress. This is the Silent Genocide of South Africa's white population that the western media finds extremely uncomfortable to report on.
    Black on white racism does not happen in the mindset of the liberal world.

    There was a lot of focus on aids and the squalor of the townships.
    All these programs looked at the current outcomes and none of the previous causes
    In 1900 there were about 1million white people and 3 million black people (from the 9 black nations) in South Africa.
    In 1990 the white population was about 5 million (about the same size as Scotland or Ireland or Wales) and the black population was at least 35 million strong (quote; Winnie Mandela)
    It was never pointed out that the aids pandemic is virtually exclusive to the black population - ins spite of the first world healthcare infrastructure that the previous white governments had provided for the black communities.

    South Africa has 4 major ethnic communities - the 9 Black Nations: the 2 White groups: the Indian community: the Coloured (Mulatto) community. Whites and Indians are virtually aids free and aids has not reached pandemic proportions amongst Coloureds. It is only the black population that is being devastated. Why they have to rely on donations from overseas charities to combat this problem of their own making is another anachronism.
    The Government has money to by arms and bankroll a FWC but none for aids. It is quite happy to rely on foreign donations and charity to pay for it's healthcare issues.
    There are very many "Black Diamonds" (billionaires) who have become exceedingly wealthy in the transfer to majority rule since 1994. Are they contributing to solving this tragedy within their own people?

    Perhaps Dan and his team should take a break from football reporting and get into some genuine investigative journalism
    My bet is that his next tranche of programmes could be a whole lot different.

    This post is obviously past the sell-by date of FWC 2010 but nevertheless relevant as a round-up to a memorable event in South Africa's history

  • Comment number 61.

    Regarding post No. 60
    The writers screen name is not "You" but "Devilspeak"


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