I received this email and as Herman suggests – I’ve shared it – I’ve copied it in full with the footer, please feel free to copy and forward it too.
From: Singh, Herman H [mailto:Herman.Singh@standardbank.co.za]
Sent: 30 June 2010 06:07 PM
I wrote this on my blackberry in my personal capacity. First time that ive
felt the need to share via email like this. Feel free to share on.
CEO: Beyond Payments
“The headlines in rsa read the same old dismal news. World cup too
expensive. No way to recoup investment. World cup over capitalised. And more
in that vein
I read this as I prepared for a journey across 5 continents in 5 weeks
flying in and out of jhb and at times being out during parts of the world
cup, much to my disappointment.
I had accepted all of these stories at face value until I started with my
first flight to uganda. There I discovered that our african brethren we so
proud of us for bringing the world cup here. They were praying for our
success in hosting it (if not always rooting for our great unifying soccer
The excitement was palatable and people were clearly seeing us as leading
members of the community of africa. This fabulous continent with almost a
billion people is perhaps more critical to our future well being in terms of
personal perceptions than the rest of the world
It struck me then that the PR on south africa outside the country was hugely
positive and actually, you cannot buy a positive spin like that. In rsa we
complain about the cost of this world cup yet the world now sees us a
positive and happy place to visit and do business with!
Am amazing dichotomy!
Shortly after that I was in india and was amazed by the extremely great and
positive reporting happening on our country. From airports and highway
upgrades to the amazing stadiums that have become status symbols on our own
continent. The Indians were clearly impressed with our rapid progress as a
unified nation and welcomed us as fellow serious fast growing emerging
I flew via dubai and the airport was blazoned with images of our country and
brand “south Africa” had become sexy and exciting in my mind. A
transformation of amazing importance was taking place in the collective
consciousness of the travellers around me. I often sensed envy in my fellow
travellers when they heard were I was from and more importantly where I was
I was then in brazil where south africa was emblazoned everywhere from bill
boards and airports to newspapers and tv ads in the soccer crazy nation.
Even the domestic airline had this amazing one hour video which they played
on how well we and africa had done in preparing for this event. Always
positive and promoting our country in the most positive way that I’ve ever
seen. Socially redeeming, nationally relevant and inspirational was my
I flew saa back and was quite moved to hear our pilots try to talk about
soccer over the intercom and in portuguese to a resounding applause from the
braziliansoccer fans on the plane
By now my chest was bursting with pride at my country, my team, my nation
and my continent
The trip to the usa , a country where soccer is not the most publicised
sport, was the most amazing of all. Everywhere that I went I was asked why I
was out of my country at this amazing time, the bbc even interviewed me on
I lost count of the number of times that I saw the words south africa in the
usa from the east to the west coast. From mobile tv vans at central park to
pubs in san francisco and even in the sports section of USA papers that
grudgingly refered to this event.
Espn coverage was amazing as were the ads and they all painted south africa
as a nation that was now a first world country and hosting one of the best
world cups ever. Praise was heaped on the country from our fans and united
population to the fact that our team had done well given their ranking prior
to the event
The dreaded and much cursed vuvuzela was now becoming an american icon as I
noted from fans at the airport returning to the usa at jfk proudly wearing
bafana bafana shirts ( a usa fashion accessory now in its own right – I
think that its now the unoffical world cup shirt world wide). I lost count
of the numbers of those instruments that I saw there. What really knocked me
flat was when I found a group blowing them in union square in san francisco.
The top of the pile belongs to the story of a baseball team handing out
15000 of these items to their hands before a game to totally scare the
living daylights out of their opponents!
The world of sports noise will never be the same again!
I returned humbled by what we have accomplished as a nation.
Now I’m a senior executive who is hard nosed and has been so for 30 years
but I was very moved by all of this. So much so that I thought that I would
share this with as many south africans as possible
South africans: Be proud, stand tall, hold your head high.
You have every reason to be very proud of yourself and we have honoured the
great Madiba in the best way possible.
There are a lot of issues in pur country but when I see this I dare to
dream. I see a nation that has high ambitions and hope and punches outside
of its weight limit. A nation unified to show the world what it can do. A
nation!!! Wow, that alone is enough!
So smile, my beloved country! You have done well. Ke Nako!”
CEO: Beyond Payments
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