Wednesday, August 8, 2007

South African Name Changes and a Charity Cup Update

South Africa has a rich history cloaked by the oppressive practices of Apartheid.

On Tuesday, the World Cup organizing committee announced that three World Cup host cities will be allowed to use proposed name changes on official tournament documents and tickets for the 2010 finals.

The tickets and documents will bear both the apartheid-era names of cities and the new ones, reflecting the nation's evolution while avoiding confusing visitors.

Pretoria will now be known as Tshwane, the name of the municipal district containing South Africa's capital, Bloemfontein becomes Manguang and Port Elizabeth will be called Nelson Mandela Bay. The organizers said they had agreed with the world governing body FIFA that the new names would be used within South Africa. Outside the country, a combination of both the old and new names will be used to avoid confusion.

Name changing is highly sensitive in South Africa. The black-led government has championed efforts to rename towns or street names to get rid of apartheid-era names and better reflect the country's African character, but that has angered some whites, who fear their history is being eroded.

Apartheid's tentacles reach from the past to affect us in the present. Oppression can not be easily diluted, not even through the folds of time.

An update on the Charity Cup from South Africa, which we talked about a few days ago.

Bloemfontein Celtic won the Charity Cup, an exhausting four-team event that traditionally attracts crowds above 70,000 spectators.

Celtic beat Orlando Pirates 4-3 in the final after the game had gone to penalties. The two teams were locked in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.

Orlando Pirates progressed to the final after beating arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs in a penalty shoot out in the semi final after the teams were level 1-1 after normal time.

Bloemfontein Celtic had no trouble securing their final berth, beating last year's league runners-up Silver Stars 3-1 in their semi.

The four clubs who took part were voted for in a month-long telephone poll.

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