World Cup in South Africa is over: and Spain won it!!

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The bus carrying the Spanish players surrounded by fans, yesterday afternoon Foto: Público.

After a few really hectic days, I am able to finally access the internet – unfortunately not yet from home, that will take a few days more, if Telefónica sticks to its word (something that is, of course, not a given). So I am writing from a public library in Madrid – my new place of residence for the foreseeable future. And whilst I am able to write this post, I have not had much time to keep up with African affairs and the latest news as much as I would have liked to. In the next few days i hope to be able to catch up with everything and resume normal posting. But today’s will be an unusual post, in that it will only marginally touch on the African continent, and more precisely on the World Cup that finished last Sunday on Jo’burg.
Practically everyone is by now sick and tired of football, after a month where it has been the biggest news story worldwide, and this will probably be my last mention to this event. But I need to say that, while everyone is tired of the the World Cup by now, here in Madrid, and in Spain, people are a little less tired than everywhere else, for the simple reason that – in case you have not been on this planet for the past two days – we won it! Spain is the football World Cup champion! And those in Madrid have been living a constant celebration for the past 36 hrs. Walking and moving on the city yesterday and Sunday night has been – specially for someone new to this place – a strange experience; half scary (so many Spanish flags, shirts, and patriotic chants) half wonderful (people in really good mood, blowing their vuvuzelas, greeting – and dancing with – total strangers).
And the celebration parade that took place yesterday afternoon had – I need to say even if I am getting carried away by the patriotic feeling here – some wonderful images of people of all walks of life celebrating the victory together.
Old and young people, some that have lived in Madrid their whole lives and some new arrivals – a few, like me, from Spain but new to the city, and some foreign: South American, Asian and African inmigrants that now form part of the city and the country, were out celebrating with everyone else. There is a lot to criticise in Spain’s attitude to inmigration, and racism, but there are times where credit needs to be given. The Spanish crowd that went out to celebrate yesterday was completely different from the one that would have been out had the title been won 20 years ago. And, while there are numerous issues around these changing demographic, Sunday’s victory demostrated that in many ways, there are things to celebrate in how Spain has changed during the past few years, both on and off the pitch.

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