April 7 2010: When the referee blows the 2010 World cup final whistle, the only certainty is that Botswana will be dancing to the world biggest sporting event despite long faces in local boardroom over missed opportunities.
The 2010 World Cup is expected to bring Botswana’s split personality to the fore: In corporate Botswana which sees South Africa as a competitor, a smiling face will be as rare as a big business score from the World cup.
In cultural Botswana which lives on cultural hand-me-downs from South Africa, young clubbers will be dancing to the Diski Dance which has been created by Tourism South Africa in a bid to generate excitement in the build up to the World Cup.
On the hip-o-meter, the dance inspired by football moves such as “kick”, “chest trap” and “head” is expected to rank alongside the moon dance and the Macarena in Botswana.
Television adverts featuring the Diski Dance aimed at generating excitement at home and abroad ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup are already being beamed to thousands of Botswana living rooms.
I Googled “Diski Dance” and my computer turned in 151 000 entries which is by far higher than the 4240 entries turned in by Sika Likhekhe one of the most popular dances that Botswana has borrowed from South Africa.
Diski is a South African term for football which has already found its way into the Botswana lexicon, so have some of the Diski moves like “Tsamaya.”
The mood in Botswana dance floors will however belie that in local boardrooms. Botswana newspaper letter pages are already snowed under complaints from local football lovers and investors moaning about World Cup 2010 lost opportunities.
Sports Minister, Shaw Kgathi told reporters recently that initially, the thinking was to get teams to set up base in Botswana even during the World Cup finals but this was abandoned when it was realized that teams would be required to camp in South Africa during the World Cup. Subsequently, “the strategy was to get teams to set up pre-tournament bases in Botswana”.
“Botswana is positioned strategically due to its proximity to some of the South African provinces: Limpopo, Northwest and Gauteng than any other country in the region. Initially, our strategy was focused on lobbying various football teams to camp in the country, thus the only strategic option that we have is to position Botswana as alternative destination for accommodation, transport and tourism facilities,” the minister said.
So far in Botswana, Sun International (or Gaborone Sun) is the only service provider that has signed an agreement with FIFA to provide services to World Cup tourists because of its network of hotels in SADC and South Africa.