Being there was so special. As a child, I had the privilege of being in Atlanta for the 1996 Centennial Olympics. The magnitude of the Olympics was enormous for our city. In fact, Atlanta’s current reputation as a hub for business and entertainment can be largely credited to the convergence of the world on what was before a mere 1 million person Southern town.
I too fretted about South Africa’s capacity to deliver a fantastic World Cup. I read the rumors suggesting that the stadiums may not finish in time. The threat of boycotts. Violence. I listened to the British press and they were skeptical. Really skeptical.
But, the vibe overall was blessed, if not, entitled. It was like South Africa collectively saying, “We are ready for this, and we’re going to prove it!” And they did. The entire country welcomed the world with pride, grace, and tact. Cars and shops donned South African flags and the breathtaking Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town rivaled any of the most modern and fantastic in the world.
My inclination was inquisitive and especially honed in on the dynamic of race relations. Mainly, I wondered how socioeconomic status would affect local attitudes about the World Cup. After nearly two months of evenly distributed quality time among diametrically opposed economic classes and races (and everyone in between), I feel good about saying the entire country was positively buzzing about the biggest party in sports. For that month, it was one Rainbow Nation. Many of our interview subjects/hosts rightfully noted the absence of negative news on the daily circuit. The most poignant moment for us was the opening day of World Cup. It was electric. South Africa was preparing for the opening match against Mexico and we were heading Westbound on a train to Cape Town.
The train got busier and yellower with each stop. More fans, more flags, more vuvuzelas. More energy. The train mirrored the makeup of the population. Mainly nonwhites, but lots of whites, too. Everyone enthusiastic. In particular, there were three boys who set the tone for the rest of us. They were about 14-17. They were laughing and screaming and blooowing those vuvuzelas. It was awesome. Everyone on the train followed them with laughter, chanting and horn blowing (this was only a precursor to the party on Long Street during the match. Or the famous “Fun Walk” into the stadium. Gosh…).
The three boys are hanging out of the train, screaming, laughing, and vuvuzelaing. It was an energetic climax that I will never forget-and-some of the most beautiful footage we captured this year.
The moment triggered the feeling of President Barack Obama’s election. The prevailing sentiment was historic and boundlessly optimistic. As in the case of Mr. Obama, we do not yet know what the future holds for the country, but it was nice to be there during a time of magnificent optimism and positivity. I don’t know, “what happens now?”, but I am blessed to have been there when a nation equally mired and resilient felt they could do anything.
About the Author:
In February 2008, Atlanta, GA native Stephen Satterfield founded ISAW, (International Society of Africans in Wine), a nonprofit organization creating economic opportunity in Africa through the business of wine. The Foundation supports South Africa’s black‐owned wineries, and socially transformative wine projects, through assistance in market access and marketing. ISAW is currently raising funds to build a training center on the M’hudi Farm in Stellenbocsh, South Africa, which is the first black‐owned winery in the country.
Through global grassroots campaigns and new media, Satterfield has created a dialog about the troubled legacy of South Africa’s wine workers, while establishing the Foundation as a leading voice and a platform on the subject in the US.
Additionally, Stephen speaks to MBA students on social enterprise, and is a frequent wine judge, and panelist for non‐profit summits and conferences. Stephen attended the University of Oregon for Undergraduate studies, and graduated with honors from Western Culinary Institute, in Portland, OR. He is a Certified Sommelier via the International Sommelier Guild, and spent 2 years as the General Manager of Portland’s, internationally acclaimed Genoa Restaurant. He currently resides in the Calveras County California Winelands, and is working with Emory University to produce a feasibility study on viticultural empowerment in Ethiopia, and is co‐producing a collection of short films on the subject of land, legacy, and transformation in South Africa’s wine industry along with the independent production company, Clear Films.