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Africa Is Dead, Long Live Holland

Lots of debate out there about soccer and national pride, and whether the expressions of nationalism the game provokes are good or bad. But I gotta say, down here in South Africa among the fans rather than the commentators, what they mainly look like is thin. I watched the Uruguay-Netherlands game last night in Cape Town, and it was funny to see how swiftly and totally the local fans had abandoned their undying loyalty to the black African teams and embraced their historical ties to the Dutch, the first South African colonists. Just a few days ago, "WE'RE ALL GHANAIANS NOW," the headlines in the paper were screaming. Yesterday, I saw the same people who'd fiercely paraded on the streets wearing Ghana hats and "IT'S GHANA BE A GOOD NIGHT" neck placards freshly decked out head-to-toe in orange. Another day, another fan identity. As I walked back to my apartment from the stadium, a black doorman, beaming with pride, gave me frenzied thumbs-up from the curb. "Die Kaap is Holland s'n!" he shouted to me in Afrikaans: "The Cape is Holland's!", as if the last half-decade of South Africa's history hadn't been spent in a pitched battle to dismantle the influence of that very country.