In a World Obsessed with Passport Tiers, Citizenship Is Personal and Political

first_imgLate last week, I was informed that I would not be able to travel to Dubai for an important meeting scheduled months ago.Like other countries across the globe, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) halted travel for those with Guinean, Liberian, and Sierra Leonean passports during the height of the Ebola outbreak. It has not lifted these restrictions.The miniature red suitcase I had packed lay abandoned on my wooden floor. I caressed my dark green Liberian passport as if to reassure this inanimate marker of identity that my citizenship was not on trial here.The specter of Ebola had simply triumphed over reason.Yet, the irony of this episode hasn’t escaped me. Dubai is a hub for cross continental travel. In 2013 alone, the UAE boasted the fifth largest international migrant pool in the world—hosting 7.8 million foreign residents out of a total population of 9.2 million. Furthermore, foreign labor migrants account for 90 percent of the country’s private workforce, mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.Unlike the US and UK, where anti-immigrant sentiments have reached fever pitch, the UAE seems more pliant to international travelers. So, naturally, I thought it was odd when I attempted to complete the online visa form and Liberia was not listed as an option for ‘present nationality’. Nor were Guinea and Sierra Leone.This was punishment for simply being born in Africa with a particular African passport. Even the organizers of the meeting were shocked, disbelief sprinkled in their conciliatory e-mails and phone calls. All diplomatic channels had proved futile. The verdict was irreversible. I would not be getting on that plush Emirates flight.Never mind that Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9, exactly one month ago.Never mind that I have not been to my homeland in over 10 months. Nor was I asked about recent travel there.Never mind that my country and its people are slowly trying to recover from an invisible foe that killed nearly 5,000 and infected about 11,000.In the past year, I’ve seen my passport scrutinized more intently than ever before, but the UAE blanket bias felt like adding salt to a fresh wound.At first, I experienced blinding rage with a touch of indignation. The kind that gurgles in the pit of your gut, and then explodes.Then I was amused by the absurdity of it all. If I were traveling directly from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone and had a passport from a country on UAE’s list of exemptions, I would have gotten a visa on arrival with ease. No questions asked.Mild acceptance slowly seeped in, reminding me that we maintain immigration hierarchies as a form of erasure and silencing. In our obsession with citizenship tiers, west is best. North trumps South. And white is inevitably right.Never mind black/brown solidarity. Or does that even exist?I have shied away from returning home fearing the kind of immobility that sees people not as complex beings but as nameless, faceless ‘threats’ to national security. A sedentarist kind of metaphysic that keeps certain people in their place.People like me.Truth be told, the natural human compulsion for mobility is currently under threat because of irrational immigration bans such as the UAE’s.For all the rhetoric about globalization’s free flow of ideas, capital and technology, the world remains obsessed with restricting the movement of people who don’t fit into our neat boxes of what is tolerable or even desirable. The UAE saga is a microcosm of a larger debate about the need for immigration reforms worldwide.The scapegoating of migrants across the globe deflects attention from the fact that most countries have failed to improve the quality of life of their domestic citizens. Afro-fobic attacks in South Africa, Australia’s Pacific Solution, and the plight of Rohingya Muslims off the coast of Indonesia are extreme examples. Immigration is framed as a zero sum game, with finite rights and resources available to a select few.I watch migrants who look like me risk their lives on sardine-packed, rickety boats to cross the Mediterranean, and know intuitively that they wouldn’t flee if they had a choice. With each desperate attempt to cross over, what they are effectively saying is that Europe must make amends for waging unjustifiable wars and supporting authoritarian regimes in some of their countries of origin.Centuries ago, Africans were so eager to escape lives of bondage, some dove to sudden death in the Atlantic. They were the first forced migrants I can recall. Now, many of us travel across these same waters for short-, medium- and long-term trips. Not because of some deep, abiding love for life abroad, but because it gives us a measure of flexibility. It keeps us physically connected to the rest of the world.And for someone like me with chronic wanderlust, the ability to travel unencumbered is almost as necessary as oxygen itself.Although a self-professed transnational, I used to be suspicious of Liberians who changed their nationality out of convenience. But after interviewing more than 200 of us across five urban centers in West Africa, North America and Europe for my doctoral thesis on citizenship construction and practice, I have become more empathetic. Many of us make the switch because of the access so easily denied me by the UAE.But we shouldn’t have to.I can’t say I would ever consider exchanging my passport for another, especially since Liberia prohibits dual citizenship. Yet, the UAE debacle has shaken me to the core. It’s made me acutely aware that citizenship is both personal and political.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author based at SOAS, University of London.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Back-to-back losses drop Huskies to fifth place

first_imgAfter losing Saturday by a score of 6-2, the Huskies entered round two with the Wolverines in a Sunday afternoon showdown, but unfortunately, were unable to tie the weekend series, losing once again, by a score of 6-4.Despite back-to-back losses, the Huskies can take some positivity home with them regarding their power play. Sunday, all four goals scored by Fort St. John were with the man advantage, with rookie defenseman Dave Marshell registering a point on every Huskies tally. Marshell finished the game with a goal and three assists. Huskies Captain Cody Hildebrand also had a strong Sunday, earning a goal and two assists in the loss.As the huskies were unable to register a point over the weekend, they were unfortunately passed in the NWJHL standings by the Sexsmith Vipers, who now occupy fourth place by a one point margin over fifth place Fort St. John.- Advertisement -The Huskies will look to regain their former fourth place position Friday, Oct. 28, when they welcome the 1-7 Dawson Creek Junior Canucks to Fort St. John. The game will be at the North Peace Arena and will begin at 8 p.m.last_img read more

FITNESS GURU LAUNCHES WOMEN’S MINI MARATHON GROUP

first_imgDONEGAL FITNESS guru Michael Black is launching a Women’s Mini Marathon Group.His company Optimal Fitness plans to start the group on Wednesday 13th April in Letterkenny.Said Michael today: “The Flora Woman’s Mini Marathon (10k) will take place on June 6th in Dublin and is the biggest all women’s event of its kind in the world. “We will be offering a full training package including weekly training runs and programme, race entry, nutritional advice and additional support right up to the day of the event.“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who has thought about completing this event. The training group is open to all women regardless of fitness level or ability.“You will be guided through all the training and given all the support needed to ensure you complete the mini marathon on the 6th June.”The group will meet at the Aura Leisure Centre from 6.30pm to 7.30pm each Wednesday. The cost of the 8-week course is €100. To book your place contact Michael on 087-6603090 or email Michael at michael@optimalfitness.ie.endsFITNESS GURU LAUNCHES WOMEN’S MINI MARATHON GROUP was last modified: April 5th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:letterkennyMichael BlackWomen’s Dublin mini marathonlast_img read more

Neymar expected to return to Brazil training on Wednesday

first_img 2 Neymar suffered several big tackles from the Swiss The Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) later confirmed that Neymar had “complained of ankle pains due to the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland,” but team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar added the forward was expected to resume training again on Wednesday afternoon following further physiothepary.Brazil drew their opening Group E match against the Swiss 1-1 on Sunday at the Rostov Arena, and next play Costa Rica in St Petersburg on Friday.A statement on the CBF Twitter account from Dr Lasmar said: “Neymar complained of ankle pains, due to the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland. “As the training was a recovery session, he was referred to physiotherapy. (He will) stay there today and tomorrow morning, (then) training (again) tomorrow afternoon.”Neymar, 25, had already sat out Monday’s light training, before being forced off on Tuesday and unable to complete the rest of the scheduled session.The official FIFA Twitter Brazil reporter also provided an update on Neymar’s latest condition via the tournament website following Tuesday’s training session and press conference.“CBF has spoken officially about the condition of Neymar, having only taken part in about 20 minutes of today’s training,” the update from @FIFAWorldCupBRA read.“The forward has been dealing with some discomfort in his right ankle but is expected to be back to work as normal and on the pitch in Wednesday’s session.” 2 Brazil expect Neymar to be back in training on Wednesday after the forward limped out of Tuesday’s session in Sochi because of ankle pain.The Paris St Germain striker, who recovered fitness from a fractured metatarsal to play at the World Cup, left after around 20 minutes – and hobbled off to receive further treatment. Neymar complained of ankle pains last_img read more

Man United stars ‘angry’ at Mourinho, Arsenal ace set for shock exit and more

first_imgHere’s the top transfer news and football gossip from Thursday’s newspapers and online… 4 targets Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland Arsenal are set to lose one of their key players in Aaron Ramsey next summer – unless they can pull something out the bag United chief Ed Woodward has given his full backing to Mourinho and has no plans to sack him, but a number of players will consider leaving at the end of the season if the 55-year-old remains as manager. (Daily Star)And it appears Mourinho and Pogba will have to continue to work together, Ed Woodward has no plans to sell the 25-year-old midfielder either. (The Times)Away from Old Trafford…Aaron Ramsey is set to leave Arsenal at the end of the season after talks over a new contract broke down. The 27-year-old Welshman has previously been linked with Chelsea and Juventus. (Daily Mirror) Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade 4 4 The Gunners are monitoring 16-year-old Everton defender Ryan Astley, who made his debut for the Toffees’ under-23 side back in March. (Daily Mirror)Manchester City want 18-year-old English midfielder Phil Foden to sign a long-term contract, after manager Pep Guardiola told press the youngster has a big future with the club. (Daily Mail)Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it could take SIX MONTHS for Brazil midfielder Fabinho to adapt to his new surroundings and a new regime in Merseyside. The 24-year-old joined Liverpool from Monaco in the summer and made only his second appearance of the season in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea. (The Independent) 4 Several Manchester United players are angry with Jose Mourinho over the manager’s man-management and his handling of the ongoing rift with Paul Pogba. (ESPN)The World Cup winner is reported to have told Man United hierarchy almost two months ago that he wanted to leave Old Trafford, amid links with a move to Barcelona. (Daily Telegraph)It is also claimed the tension between the boss and the player started immediately following Pogba’s £89m return to United, with Mourinho unhappy about how his arrival was announced by the club. (Daily Mail) Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ RANKED moving on Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January center_img LATEST Liverpool were snubbed by Brentford’s 21-year-old Spanish winger Sergi Canos back in 2016, instead signing a new deal with the Championship club, the player has revealed. (The Guardian)Bournemouth defender Jack Simpson says he is flattered by interest from Rangers, but the 21-year-old Englishman is focused on his role at the Premier League club. (Bournemouth Echo)Former Man United and Evertonboss David Moyes is on the shortlist to take over at Ligue 1 side Nantes. (Daily Mirror) REVEALED Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho’s relationship appears to be irreparable Fabinho is yet to feature for Liverpool in the Premier League Transfer gossip on talkSPORT.com targets The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father IN DEMAND LIVING THE DREAM Latest talkSPORT.com exclusives and football headlines:NEW FOOTAGE: Jose Mourinho appears to tell Paul Pogba to ‘get out’ in Manchester United training ground rowJose Mourinho and Paul Pogba’s exchange at Manchester United training ground was down to Instagram post‘Paul Pogba is POISON’ – Manchester United star SLAMMED by talkSPORT host who says he must be sold in January‘Manchester United are in disarray – it reminds me of the season under David Moyes’, says local journalist‘Jose Mourinho has tried everything to help Paul Pogba’ – Top journalists’ damning verdict on midfielder’s Manchester United futurePaul Pogba is a ‘myth’ and Manchester United MUST sell him in January, says Simon Jordan on talkSPORT‘Too many things coming out of Man United’, says Fergie’s former right-hand manlast_img read more

ALL OF 15,000 HOMES LEFT WITHOUT POWER NOW BACK ON ESB GRID

first_imgAll of the 15,000 homes left without power in north Donegal after an ESB cut this morning have now been restored.A spokesman for the company said homes in Creeslough, Letterkenny and Milford are now back to normal.Spokesman for the ESB, Brian Montayne confirmed to Donegaldaily.com that the problem lay with the 38 V line but were still investigating the cause of the interruption. Some homes were left without power for up to 40 minutes.“We are still looking into the matter. It may haves something to do with damage which was caused as a result of Monday’s storm but we are still examining the incident,” he said.A number of crews rushed to examine the outage and many homes were back on the grid just fifteen minutes after they first went out.Mr Montayne said the ESB are constantly trying to upgrade the capacity of the line in Donegal. “We don’t ant to come on all the heavy but this is one of the reasons why we need a 110KV line in Donegal. This is to cater for such scenarios as we had this morning,” he said.EndsALL OF 15,000 HOMES LEFT WITHOUT POWER NOW BACK ON ESB GRID was last modified: September 14th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ESBpowercutlast_img read more

WORK STARTS ON KILLYGORDON’S COMMUNITY CENTRE EXTENSION

first_imgWork has started on an exciting extension to Killygordan’s community centre.The Annual General Meeting of the Crossroads And Killygordon Enterprise Ltd (CAKE) this week heard details about the plan.Chairman Mr Maxi McCreary, revealed the extension part of what has been another successful year for the community group. Recently, he said, work had started on a new 4,000 square foot, two storey extension to the Oaktree Business Park and Community Centre.Mr McCreary spoke of the importance of community involvement in the day to day running of the centre and thanked, in particular, Community Employment Scheme (CES) supervisor Paddy Murray as well as John O’Loughlin.He said both men had gone out of their way to help with the day-to-day running of the centre.Mr McCreary also gave a rundown on the different projects carried out in the area by the CES workers and thanked the various local community groups. The meeting heard that the CAKE run CES scheme was an invaluable outlet for the re-training of local men and woman who, in turn, provided a much needed service to the community.This work included the upkeep of the local playground, Burnrock picnic area, the Curragh and Railway Avenue estates as well as the villages of Crossroads and Killygordon.The CES scheme is reputed to be one of the best in the country and their service to the community should not be underestimated.In his treasurers report, Mr Seamus McMenamin told the meeting that it was a positive financial year for CAKE.He said that the hall was now being used seven days per week and was also capable of hosting events such as conferences, concerts and dances. Bookings can be made by contacting the CAKE office. Mr McMenamin appealed to the community at large to use the hall where possible.He also paid tribute to the main contractors for the new extension, Glenconnor Ltd, for their continued co-operation and said the new centre was scheduled to be completed by next April.The extension will include a 20-seat upstairs viewing gallery from which spectators can watch events in the main hall.The extension will also have changing and shower facilities as well as a number of meeting rooms and a new home for the Wednesday Club. Mr John Butler, Care for the Older People, said that numerous security pendants and lighting where supplied to local people throughout the year.Mr Butler thanked his wife Sally, Breege Kelly and the CES workers for their help in the running of the Wednesday Club for older people.The Club has proved a huge success with the older members of our community.The following committee members were elected for the coming year:Chairman, Mr Maxi McCreary, Vice Chairperson Mr Patrick Kelly, Joint Secretaries Cllr Patrick McGowan and Mr John Butler, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer Mr Seamus McMenamin and Mr Jim Garvey and PRO Mr Cronan Scanlon.The CAKE office can be contacted on 074 91 49557.WORK STARTS ON KILLYGORDON’S COMMUNITY CENTRE EXTENSION was last modified: November 6th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:COMMUNITY CENTREKILLYGORDANlast_img read more

Jean Barton: Western Livestock Journal Texas ‘Legacy’ Ranch Tour

first_imgThe Texas Panhandle was hot, humid, green, clean, no graffiti or trash. Their four lane highways were 75 mph, with no traffic. Great ranching families, delightful ranch children with “yes ma’am”,”no sir.” Beautiful horses, productive cattle, cutting edge technology and wonderful hosts.Kendra and I were in Texas for the Western Livestock Journal Texas “Legacy” Ranch Tour with friends from California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, …last_img

Two thumbs up for Midmar Mile

first_img11 February 2008Despite rainy weather throughout Saturday, the 2008 Midmar Mile weekend was a roaring success, with excellent racing, fun and drama, slickly put together into a professional package that kept competitors and spectators well entertained at the world’s largest open water swimming event.A significantly upgraded commentary set-up worked brilliantly. For the first time, big screen televisions covered the action at both the start and finish. Race commentary was provided by people at the start, top swimming coaches in boats on the water, the pilot of a helicopter over the dam, and more commentators at the finish.Besides being broadcast over a far-reaching sound-system, the commentary also went out on 100.5 FM over a 30-kilometre radius around the Midmar Dam.Into focusWith the massive fields of swimmers out in the dam, causing splashes reminiscent of a sardine run on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the comprehensive coverage of the event helped bring into focus the action in the water, at the start and at the finish. Outstanding!The introduction of the Mr Price timing chip played a massive role in making the job of the commentators an easy one. Identifying swimmers, with each of them wearing caps, is not an easy job, but a quick glance at a number and running it through a computer made matters relatively easy.As competitors crossed the timing mats at the finish, their times and names became available, which allowed the commentators to personalise their comments.Ultimately, it made for a warm and feel-good production which made everyone a part of the event.Men’s titleThe primary men’s title, in the category 14-30 years, was claimed by open water swimming star Shaun Dias in a fantastic sprint finish across the timing mat, just ahead of Chad Ho.Dias went out fast from the start, picking up hotspots wins as the 400 metres, 800m, and 1 200m marks. The final 400 metres, however, saw Ho drawing up alongside Dias to match him stroke for stroke as the finish drew near.On the banks, the crowds edged closer to the water, excitement palpable in the air, to watch the drama unfold. Dias was first to his feet, fractionally ahead of Ho. Both immediately turned on the afterburners in a race for the line, with Dias winning in 19:05, only one second ahead of Ho.Visiting Hungarian swimmer Csabo Gersack captured third place in 19:19.Women’s championVictory in the women’s 14-30 went Hungary’s way as Erika Hajnal out-duelled South Africa’s Melissa Corfe to win in her first go at the Midmar Mile.There were shades of 2007 as Hajnal adopted a similar line to the one used by Australia’s Melissa Gorman when she won a year earlier.Corfe took up a line that was as much as 100 metres apart from Hajnal but, after realising the Hungarian was on a better course, she moved inwards in an effort to close the gap. It was too late.Despite a furious finishing burst by Corfe, she couldn’t catch Hajnal, who won in 20:27, three seconds ahead of the South African. Melanie Greyling took third place in 21:48.CharityMembers of the 8-Mile Club, including three-time winner Gareth Fowler, two-time champion Terence Parkin and former Springbok prop Adrian Garvey, completed every race in their distinctive gold caps as they raised money for charity.The Game Charity Challenge swimmers were also prominent with their pink caps as they too swam for charity. In the company relay, 87 swimmers from Game Stores took to the water, with Game donating R1 000 for each swimmer that took part.Event one on Saturday decided a number of titles, including those of the Ironman and Ironwoman. The Ironman/Ironwoman is made up of the previous year’s Comrades Marathon, the Dusi Canoe Marathon, and the Midmar Mile, while the biathlon part of the competition includes the Midmar Mile and Dusi Canoe Marathon, as well as the Midmar Mile and the Comrades Marathon.Ironman titlesRoy Delhove claimed the Ironman title, including all three events, while Kerry Koen was crowned women’s champion.The men’s Ironman biathlon title, including the Comrades and Midmar Mile, went the way of Bruce Gore, while Kerry Koen was again the winner among the women.The Ironman biathlon title, including the Dusi and Midmar Mile, saw Dusi great Hank McGregor top among the men and Angela Scrooby coming out on top among the ladies.Gareth Fowler led Terence Parkin across the finishing line.Included in the field were 30 swimmers from the Sobantu development programme, a success story which was started thanks to the support of the Midmar Mile and the organising club, Pietermaritzburg Seals.Team relaysUnilever Wave defended their title in the company relay, with Brett Clark leading their challenge by finishing third behind 8-Milers’ Fowler and Parkin, who weren’t officially in the running for victory.Event three, the non-company relay, is closely watched as an indicator of the form of the leading swimmers ahead of the main men’s and women’s races on Sunday.Charl van Zyl took victory in 19:45, ahead of JC Thompson and Wesley Gilchrist, but perhaps the most telling result was Melissa Corfe ending sixth overall, the first woman across the line, in 20:05.USN-Spike retained their title.Family relayThe final event on Saturday, the family relay, was won by the Dias family, with Shaun taking first, Paul fifth, and Gareth sixth.Courtney and Kirsten Mower, part of the defending champion team, put the pressure on by ending second and third respectively, with Connie and Caitlyn Mower finishing a little way back to ensure the Mower family finished as runners-up.True magicIt was at the back end of the family relay that the true magic of the Midmar Mile was revealed. Watching spouses, siblings, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, exiting the water together, with mile-wide smiles, pride and love plastered across their features was lump-in-the throat theatre.Here and there messages in marking pens were written on swimmers’ bodies: “4 mum + dad”, “4 dad-zn”, and other more humourous offerings, such as “Learner, please pass”.Much as the true spirit of KwaZulu-Natal’s other major mass-participation events – the Comrades Marathon and the Dusi Canoe Marathon – is to be found among the entrants competing to finish the events, rather than racing to win, so the heart-warming spirit of the Midmar Mile became clear in the family relay.Age group winnersSunday morning’s first event, the women’s 13-and-under and 31-and-over, was won by Kira Hauptfleisch, an under-13 entrant, in a time of 21:27.Stacey Bowley topped the 31-40 age group, while Lulu Cochran, a visitor from the United Kingdom, was number one in the 41-50 section. Rita Townsend won the 51-60 event.The men’s event in the same age divisions was won by Ryno Markgraaff after a fantastic dice against Gregg Price that had the spectators enthralled.Markgraaff’s win saw him take the 31-40 title, while Price won in the 41-50 age group. Lliam Hunt was the top under-13 finisher.Veteran starsLorna Cochran lifted the women’s record for the oldest finisher to 84 years of age, while Mike “Buthy” Arbuthnot swam the Mile for the 35th year in succession. Having been a part of the 8-Mile Club previously, he has swum the race 65 times in total!Apart from Adrian Garvey swimming all eight events, a few other ex Springbok rugby players were in attendance. Former captain Gary Teichmann swam the first race, while Os du Randt was on hand to support his wife, Hannelie, who in her younger days won her national colours for swimming. Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

World Cup 2010? Yes, we can

first_imgInside Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium.(Image: Local Organising Committee) As the city of Durban kicked off celebrations marking 100 days to the 2010 Fifa World Cup last night, it was evident that South Africa is on track to success as hosts of Africa’s first global football extravaganza.As the city of Durban kicked off celebrations marking 100 days to the 2010 Fifa World Cup last night, it was evident that South Africa is on track to success as hosts of Africa’s first World Cup.“As we mark 100 days to the start of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, we do so with immense pride,” said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe during the 100 Day Banquet at the Durban International Convention Centre. “We are proud because, in many respects, we are able to pronounce ourselves ready to welcome the world three months ahead of schedule.”Motlanthe used the occasion to not only celebrate the countdown to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, but to celebrate the hard work that has been put into getting to the 100 day mark.“We have gathered here to begin a countdown to the greatest football tournament on earth. On behalf of the Republic of South Africa, I wish to extend our gratitude to all the men and women who have worked on the World Cup project and those who are still working on the last phase of our preparations”.Irvin Khoza, chair of the World Cup local organising committee, said the 100-day celebrations marked a significant change in attitude.“When the countdown started there were 2 218 days; we did not count in years and months,” he said. “But when you arrive at 100 days it is the last three digit number on the countdown.“It is within this time period when people start applying for their leave, plan for their travel and even pay.”Khoza said South Africans’ anticipation of the event is growing. “We cannot wait until the 32 participating teams arrive. We cannot wait to enjoy the 30 days of football, 30 days of festival and 30 days of unprecedented and unequalled excitement and celebration. We cannot wait to bask in global attention, to project an image of Africa so vibrant and so positive that we create wealth, jobs and opportunity.”Although he had many to thank for the hard work put into the preparations for the World Cup, Khoza singled out the ordinary citizens of South Africa, and Africa, in preparing a country for the World Cup.“I would like to thank our people,” he said. “Together, as South Africans and Africans, we have faced doubters and skeptics, we have faced critics and opponents. We have heard people say we cannot finish stadiums. We have heard people say we cannot provide safety and security. We have heard people say we cannot host the Fifa World Cup.“Today, 100 days before the opening match, I ask you to recall the words of US President Barack Obama: Can we stage an outstanding World Cup in Africa? Yes, we can. We are waiting and we are ready.”last_img read more

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