by Mary Alexander
Less than a week after the end of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, a survey has found that 99% of South Africans did a good job in hosting the tournament, and 97% are “more proud” to be South African.
The survey, conducted telephonically among households in Gauteng by Umhlaba Development Services, aimed to establish how much people in the province participated in the event, and whether this participation would have a lasting impact on the social consciousness and identity of South Africans.
Some 38% of respondents said they or their families had benefitted directly from the World Cup, with 9% receiving financial benefits. A full 94% felt that hosting the World Cup would confer lasting benefits for South Africa as a whole.
Regarding national and continental solidarity and pride, 88% of those surveyed said the World Cup had given them a better understanding of the various cultures, traditions and histories of different South African population and of Africans from other countries on the continent.
Just under 20% of survey participants said they had watched all 64 World Cup games, and almost half – 47% – watched most of the games. Only 1% did not watch any World Cup matches.
Most South Africans seem to have avoided the World Cup hangover predicted by local media, with a full 73% of respondents saying they did not feel sad, lethargic or depressed after the World Cup ended.
“The citizens of Gauteng are proud and the perceptions of South Africans of their own country have become more positive,” Umhlaba Development Services said in a statement. A near-perfect 99% of those surveyed said South Africa had done a good job in hosting the World Cup, and 97% said they were more proud to be South African than they had been before the tournament. About 91% said the World Cup had given South Africans a greater sense of national unity.
Regarding the sport itself, 89% of respondents said the World Cup had made them more likely to support the national squad Bafana Bafana, and local football in general, while 80% said it had “met or exceeded” their expectations.
The survey also revealed that 98% of respondents that the World Cup had made an “important and positive” contribution to nation building, 97% said it had contributed to growing South Africa’s economy, 98% said it had contributed to infrastructure development in South Africa, and 96% said it had a positive impact on Africa as a whole.
Hosting the World Cup seems to have given South Africans a greater sense of social consciousness, with 81% of respondents saying that because of it they are more likely to become involved in charity and development work. “This mass social mobilisation presents an opportunity for government and developmental organisations to build on, and ensure the sustainability of, the many benefits of hosting the World Cup,” Umhlaba said.