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Talking Transformation

50 EpisodesProduced by Talking Transformation PodcastWebsite

An open conversation addressing contemporary city building and spatial transformation issues in South Africa.


Episode 29: #Legacy? 2010 World Cup – Assessing Transformation a Decade On

Just over ten years ago, the final whistle blew on the highly anticipated FIFA 2010 World Cup held here in South Africa. Expectations were high and the question remained before that kick off: could SA deliver. Deliver it did, staging a remarkable global event which bought SA goodwill and recognition for the event and the manner in which it was held. Crime fell, footballing tourists flocked to the stadiums and investment in fan parks and playing areas around the world suggested a new era of nation building on the back of other successful sporting ventures like the 1995 World Cup Rugby victory. Sport and infrastructure were seen as powerful catalysts for transformation and economic growth.

Having spurned the country in 2006 in favour of hosts Germany, it was surely inconceivable that Nelson Mandela would be dismissed twice. South Africa broke the bank to host the event. Both financially and in playing its ‘Madiba Magic’ trump card there was a sense of inevitability that the tournament would finally be hosted in Africa. But at what cost? And was it worth it?

SA invested billions of rands in new build projects: upgrades of airports and stadiums; in public spaces and public transport systems – some of which have operated successfully and other that have yet to operate since the event. It was a massive gamble diverting public funds that critics argued – with some justification – could have been better spent on housing, infrastructure and public services. The debate raged before, during and after the event.

In this episode of the TTPod, we explore the legacy of FIFA 2010. We try and consider in an objective way the means of assessing this legacy. To help us, we are joined by eminent historian, and best-selling author of Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa, Dr. Dean Allen. An Englishman who has made his home South Africa, Dean was part of the assessment team employed by the City of Cape Town in 2010 to survey different perspectives from some of the tournament’s leading figures. He has taken an ongoing interest in the assessment of the legacy as a historian, author and public speaker. We are delighted that he accepted an invitation to join us on the TTPod and discuss his perspective and findings. His views on transformation through the ages are compelling and thought-provoking.

Recorded 29 and 29th October

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