Big Picture: End of the World Cup

And so, last night brought the 2010 FIFA World Cup to a close – not (in my opinion) as exciting a game as the 3rd and 4th place between Germany and Uruguay – but for all the Spanish supporters a nail-bighting finish. Spain narrowly took the hopes and dreams away from the Dutch team in the last 3 minutes of extra time, finally giving themselves a world cup win.

Personally I found the game very scrappy and dirty, from both teams (well, the 13 yellow cards explain it all) but at the end of it all Spain just played a better game.

The closing ceremony was partly impressive, although, apart from the very nice special effects displayed the singing portion wasn’t that moving. There was a nice fireworks display at the end, one photo of which you can see in the series following the link below.

The World Cup has definitely brought us, as South African together and I can honestly say it’s made me feel more patriotic, not just as a South African, but as an African. Maybe in 2014 an African team can make it further than Ghana did this year.

As usual, the team at Boston.com‘s Big Picture has put together another great array of photographs for you. Enjoy.

After a month of matches, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament is over, with Spain claiming its first ever trophy, the Netherlands placing second, and Germany taking third place. 32 teams came to South Africa last month, and the eyes of the world were upon them as television and online viewership broke records, and in many places productivity dropped sharply when matches were being played. Collected here are photos from the second half of the tournament (see earlier entries: 123), the action on the fields, and the reactions of those following the games in both South Africa and their home countries, as we bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup. (44 photos total) – source Big Picture


Spain's Andres Iniesta lifts the World Cup trophy after their final match victory over Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

South Africa: Keep Flying

I’m gonna keep my flag flying for 30 days, because with one spirit, this nation can achieve anything. And we’ve only just begun.

Just because the World Cup ends this week in South Africa, it doesn’t mean we should pack away our flags and simply forget.

Keep flying the flag! [via Jon]

2010 World Cup: Ghana and Africa’s dreams shattered


We’re into the final day of the quarter finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with only Argentina vs Germany and Spain vs Paraguay left before reaching the semi-finals and final games next week.

Everyone outside of South Africa was worried about being robbed of personal belongings while visiting South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, but it was in fact Ghana and the rest of Africa that were robbed last night, by one single person – his name, Luis Suarez, from the Uruguayan team.

Why, because he deliberately and maliciously stood on the goal line in the goal box while Adiyiha took the free-kick. The ball bounced around between defenders and attackers but when it clearly went towards goal and was completely missed by the Uruguayan goalie, Suarez very clearly knocked the ball clear with his hands, earning himself a red card and a penalty kick for Ghana.

But by then the game was over – it was already the last few seconds of the second half of extra time, Ghana had played their hearts out but were unfortunately beaten 4-2 in the penalty shoot out.

Along with goal-line technology that needs to be introduced by FIFA to assist referees and linesmen make more accurate calls, FIFA also needs to introduce the additional rule of awarding the team an immediate goal should such an offence be committed.

The Uruguayans are saying that Suarez took one for the team getting a red card but that’s not enough.

People were worried that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa would be controversial but the reasons are clearly very different to those originally thought of.

Ghana, Africa mourns for your loss (and theft of a win by Uruguay). May Uruguay get the hiding of their lives against Netherlands on Tuesday.

Hup Holland Hup!

If you missed it see the video below – clear as day!

Big Picture: Halfway in – 2010 World Cup

I’ve posted a number of blog posts on various photographs from Boston.com‘s Big Picture photo gallery – and I guess it’s just fitting that I share these.

The World Cup is in full swing in South Africa and so far it has been regarded by FIFA as perfect – let’s hope we can live up to their expectations and keep the standard that high for the remainder of the tournament.

Nearly halfway through the month-long 2010 World Cup Tournament in South Africa, over a dozen teams have been eliminated from the original group of 32, with the Round of 16 beginning tomorrow, June 26th. Television and web viewership has been setting records all over the world as supporters tune in to watch the events in South Africa and react along with the fans and players in the stadiums as they celebrate their wins and suffer through losses. Collected here are recent photos from the 2010 World Cup, as some of the players and their supporters have been experiencing it – in South Africa and around the globe. (43 photos total)

Serbia's Milan Jovanovic (center) scores past Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (right) and Arne Friedrich during a Group D match at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

South Africa – World Cup 2010

There were many sceptics when it was first announced that we were drawn as host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For years after, there were many that said we could not do it, even rumours about Australia being asked to be a ‘backup’ host nation.

Well, it’s been 4 years along and we’re just past half-way through all the games for the 2010 World Cup. What do people have to say now? Just positive things – all the stadia were built on time and to the FIFA standards. Additional infrastructure, road upgrades and additional public transport (free to game ticket holders) and very well organised safe and secure venues, fan parks and fan walks. Even as someone working in the city center, right smack-bang in the middle of the fan-walk no less, I’ve not been inconvenienced any more than I’d normally be in normal traffic. In fact with the school holidays coinciding with the World Cup traffic has never been better or easier.

There are always security people, officials and/or ushers wherever you look and they’re friendly and helpful. Where are all the sceptics now?

As for Bafana-Bafana? Many are saying they, and we the South African host nation, should be disgusted in ourselves? First host nation to be knocked out of the first round World Cup.

Excuse me, did you forget to take into account we’re ranked 83rd in the world? Did you forget to take note that between ourselves, and two previous world cup winners, France and Italy. We tied with 17th ranked Mexico in our opening game. We were the only country team of the three to actually win a game? One of the games, which knocked out the former world cup champions, France?

Well done South Africa, well done Bafana-Bafana.

Enjoy a short video clip put together (it has done the round as a PowerPoint presentation too).

Fila said it best, “have faith, like rugby balls!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW4nwsqgz8I

Free Digital TV Channels available in SA

A few weeks ago I bought a new TV. A nice shiny, new Sony Bravia 40″ EX400 series digital LCD TV. It’s a nice step up from our 28″ Philips CRT TV that we’ve had for almost eight years now.

It’s a great TV and I’m glad we made the choice. It’s a full HD digital TV with a great picture and flexible set of features. It has a digital and analogue tuner built in, multiple analogue and digital inputs as well as a USB port for watching DivX encoded movies directly off of a USB stick (I bought a 16GB memory stick just for that purpose).

But I digress – the actual reason for this post is related to the digital tuner. When I first plugged in the new TV and went through the setup process, part of which is auto-tuning, it picked up 12 over-the-air digital channels as well as the 5 terrestrial analogue channels.

I know there’s been a lot of media reports about digital TV coming to South Africa and it being a requirement for broadcasting the 2010 FIFA World Cup (which by the way got off to a cracking start, even though it’s difficult to work with vuvuzelas blaring in the city all day and night long) but I was always under the impression that you needed a set-top box to decode the over-the-air (not satellite) digital channels. So when I did the initial setup of the TV I wasn’t surprised that none of the digital channels the digital tuner in the TV picked up were not displaying, since I didn’t have a decoder.

However, this morning I happened to switch to the digital channels accidentally and they were being broadcast and displayed on my TV. The following channels are being broadcast and unscrambled by my TV’s digital tuner:

  • e-TV (a free terrestrial channel)
  • eAfri (not sure about this seems to be airing similar programs to e-TV)
  • Mstar (showing infomercials in between airing movies, not latest block-busters)
  • National Geographic (the one reason I wanted satellite TV)
  • eClassic (e-TV broadcast programs, not same airtime as e-TV)
  • BBC Lifestyle (one of my wife’s favourite satellite channels)
  • Koowe (kids channel, by the looks of it a South African channel)
  • MK (music video channel)

Yes, I know, for those who have satellite/cable TV this is nothing exciting – but for those of us, like me, that don’t think paying the premium price you have to pay to get satellite TV is worth it, without having full choice of which channels you want to watch – I think it’s great! Yes, we’ve got loads of movies on DVD but it’s now nice to have a little bit more choice in our TV viewing, and we’re not (for now) paying anything above our usual annual TV licensing fees.

I’m hoping this is not a once-off (testing) thing or at the very least it’s accessible to us through-out the broadcasting of the World Cup, and of course first-prize, available to us in future.

Are there any other South Africans out there that have seen this with their own digital TVs?

Update:  28 September 2010

It would appear that testing has resumed again since there are 8 digital channels available free over the air again. I’ve picked up the following channels again:

  • e-TV (a free terrestrial channel)
  • eAfri (not sure about this seems to be airing similar programs to e-TV)
  • VUZU (wide variety of programmes)
  • Blitz (SuperSport blitz sports news and highlights)
  • Mstar (showing infomercials in between airing movies, not latest block-busters)
  • Action TV (movies and TV-series programmes)
  • Mzanzi Magic (local music, documentaries and TV-series programmes)
  • Koowe (kids channel, by the looks of it a South African channel)

Tune in and enjoy while they’re available.

Update:  23 October 2010

For about a week now we’ve also been able to tune into MNet and CSN (Sport channel showing Supersport and Indian movies when not broadcasting sport). Not complaining, just saying 🙂

Update: 14 March 2011

For the last couple of days transmission has been scrambled and none of the channels were showing anything – not even the digital version of free channel, e-TV. Tonight, however, it appears test broadcasting has resumed – free digital TV for a little while longer – yay!

SA in records books again

tomato-omeletteSouth Africa has made it into the Guiness Book of records again yesterday – with the world’s largest omelette.

South African chefs, Bruce Robertson and Ryan Bradbury, broke the world record for the largest omelette ever made at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town – via News24

Some stats:

  • Weight: 3.2 tons
  • Skillet: 14 meters in diameter
  • 60 000 eggs
  • 500kg of cheese
  • 200kg of tomatoes

The omelette would be used to feed underprivileged children around the peninsula.

The previous record, according to the Guinness World Records website, was held by The Lung Association, Brockville, Canada who managed to make an omelette that weighed 2.95 tonnes at the Brockville Memorial Centre, Ontario, Canada on May 11, 2002.

Pod of 55 beached Pilot Whales at Kommetjie

Around 7:30 this morning a pod of (originally thought 47) 55 Pilot Whales started beaching themselves at Kommetjie Beach.

The NSRI are urging people NOT to go down to the beach as the throngs of people are hampering their efforts to rescue the whales and return them to deeper waters.

It still seems no one really knows why whales beach themselves but it’s thought that since they swim in large pods the rest of the whales may be following a sick/beached leader. Another theory is that since they rely on magnetic waves to navigate themselves that some coastlines may have strong magentic forces which lead the whales to believe they’re entering deeper waters and not the coastline.

You can see some pictures here, here and here.

Update: almost 3 hours later and it appears reports are coming in that they have had to resort to shooting some of the whales that keep returning and rebeaching themselves. More photos here, here, here and here.

Listen here for an on the scene audio report with Dave Bull from The Times with Lauren Cohen.

IOL News reports that steps to euthanise the rebeaching whales will have to be taken.

“We have tried everything but they just make a U-turn and keep rebeaching themselves,” said Wally Peterson, project manager for the Kommetjie Environmental Awareness group.

Rice said the whales would be shot through the head with a pistol.

“I feel quite sad but it is the right thing to do,” she said. – source IOL

Wolverine: X-Men 4

wolverine-poster

It’s been almost 3 years since the release of the X-Men The Last Stand, the third installment in the series of X-Men movies based on the comic book characters. In a few days time it will be the 1st of May.

In some countries the 1st of May is known as May Day but in South Africa it’s known as Worker’s Day. But I digress – it’s also the international release date for Wolverine, the 4th installment of the X-Men movies where we’ll learn more about Wolverine’s character and past.

I’ve enjoyed the previous three movies so I’m looking forward to watching the fourth. Some may not have realised or know this but not all have been directed by the same person. The fourth is no different, as it’ll be directed by Gavin Hood. Who? I’ll explain in a second.

South Africa is making another name for iteself amongst the celebrities of Hollywood. First it was Charlize Theron who made South Africa proud by appearing in many block-buster movies and winning herself an Oscar for her performance in Monster. Now, Gavin Hood, another South African, former actor from a local TV-series called The Game, the director of the Oscar winning film, Tsotsi and now director of, what I’m sure will also undoubtedly be, another block-buster movie, Wolverine

Apparently, Hugh Jackman approached Gavin Hood directly for the director’s role of the movie as he was impressed with what Gavin had done with Tsotsi. Gavin’s never directed an action movie so this will be interesting – I know he’ll make us proud!

Voting in South Africa

So yesterday we had the day off so that we could vote in our general elections. I was wondering whether it would go swiftly (like the previous elections) or not (like the 1994 elections, where I waited in line for over 4 hours to vote). Thankfully the voting proceeded very quickly, and surprisingly, around the country, without any serious incidents.

The wife and I took a brisk walk from our house to the local voting station a few blocks from our house. We joined the back of the line – just outside the door and we were then promptly escourted to the correct queue based on our surnames and that we were in our own voting district (apparently the IEC had changed the rules recently to allow anyone to vote at any voting station, however if you were outside your registered province you could only vote for a national party not a provincial one).  

We presented our Identity Document, had our names checked on the register, got our fingernails marked with indelible ink (actually when I first read what was written on the little bottle I thought it said inedible ink!) to prove we voted and couldn’t vote at another station again. We were then given our voting ballots at the next table (one for provincial and one for national) and then waited for an empty voting booth to go and cast our votes. I noticed that they ensure the different party names are in random order each year and not alphabetical to ensure certain parties (who shall remain a nameless candidate) tell their voters to mark the first one on the list. We made our marks, dropped them in the highly secure (?) cardboard boxes and off we went – less than 15 minutes after joining the queue.

Uneventful, quick and hopefully our little marks will help make a difference. We’ll see in probably a few days time once all the voting districts ballots have been counted and audited (?) what the results are. 

The rest of the day was just as uneventful, except for a minor bit of surfing the web and some more training in Counter Strike, for the next weekly battle after work on Friday. Ready team, breach, bang and clear – move, move move!