FIFA 2010 World Cup Logo: Mbeki's speech part II

The second part of the impressive speech by President Mbeki at the unveiling of the FIFA 2010 logo

Mr. President, it was football that helped keep the high spirits of those jailed on Robben Island and in other prisons in our country. It was football that helped to boost the morale of those in exile; indeed, football was a source of comfort and solace and an inspiration for a better future for those living in the poorest of circumstances.

It was fifty years ago, in 1956, when the then Minister of Interior in apartheid South Africa, T.E. Donges, drew up the first official apartheid sport policy and legally segregated sport in our country.

However, this could not destroy the determination of our soccer players. In that same year, fifty years ago, black South African players such as Stephen Mokone, David Julius and, in 1958, Darius Dhlomo surmounted all these racist obstacles and signed contracts with Cardiff City, Sporting Lisbon and the Heracles Clubs respectively. By 1965, Leeds United winger, Albert Johanneson became the first Black South African to play in an English FA Cup Final.

All Africans, the most ardent of football fans and players, rejoiced in FIFA's decision to impose sanctions against South Africa in 1976 because they understood very well that, that action was part of the struggle for freedom. At the same time, while the rest of the world enjoyed the fruits of football fortunes, South Africans, even though enduring forced segregation in sport, also packed football stadiums and with meagre resources kept the game alive.

We are indeed very happy that the resilience, patience and love for the beautiful game by these masses of our people, was vindicated, on the 15th May 2004, when President Blatter announced that football's Golden Trophy would finally be going home to Africa. In that glorious moment, FIFA helped with the process of the restoration of our self-respect and dignity and rewarded all the African football lovers by bringing the beautiful game to the mother continent.

Indeed, the ancient kudu horn resonates across the Tempodrom heralding ardent and passionate supporters of FIFA's "beacon of hope", football, to grace the shores of the final missing ring - Africa, the cradle of humanity - in the Olympic ideal of the original Olympic Football Tournament, the forerunner of the FIFA Soccer World Cup.

The inaugural FIFA Soccer World Cup in Uruguay may well have been the turning point for the enormous success and passion that is so evident in Pele's beautiful game, jogo bonito, across South America. And soon the magnificent FIFA Golden Trophy heads to the Southern Hemisphere once again to inspire and uplift a continent, from the gold mines of South Africa to the undulating golden sands of Tunisia.

We have declared this century the African century. In this regard, few would argue that FIFA, President Blatter and the rest of the Executive Committee have made an enormous contribution towards the realisation of this goal by taking the biggest sporting event to Africa.

In this way, you have proved that you are the supreme ambassadors of football and through your decision you have communicated a positive message to the billions of young people across the world for whom the golden ball or the golden shoe is the ultimate prayer of hope out of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation.

Indeed, we are inspired by President Blatter's words in Senegal in May 2006 when he said: "Football is all about hope. Hope of a better world, hope for youngsters, hope that you will be able to give people's lives a purpose, and school them for life."

Your Excellencies, I am sure that you would understand our joy as FIFA took a clear and correct stand against racism. We who have endured centuries of this cancer are indeed pleased that FIFA is leading the world in its public stance against racism, anti-corruption, anti-doping and drug abuse.

We are prepared, Mr. President to be your foot soldiers in this struggle and we will do whatever possible to ensure the success of the vision adopted by the FIFA Congress in June, which states:

"Develop the game, touch the world, build a better future."
Undoubtedly, FIFA is proving, by its word and deed, that the world can succeed against the many and varied global challenges through fair and equitable partnerships based on human solidarity, co-operation, fair play and universality.

Read the final part of the impressive speech: unveiling of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Logo
Molo Says: Download our Google Earth Maps of South-Africa and all the World Cup 2010 Stadiums.

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