The world soccer governing body FIFA has branded the soccer World Cup 2010 as a ‘once in a lifetime’ event. This might help our understanding of why football supporters from Eastern and Southern Africa are enduring 4,371 kilometers of road trip to attend the grand celebration of the beautiful game.
They are driving across Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana to reach the Rainbow nation, in a journey that is an event in itself. All over the continent travel arrangements have been organised to satisfy the need of the middle class and the desire of many to be part of the ‘African Cup’. In Kenya, for instance, public bus companies and tour firms have rolled out an array of road- trip packages for African fans, offering food and accommodation en-route as well as hotel reservations during their stay in SA.
Companies from Uganda and Rwanda are offering buses with 32 inch television screens, food and accommodation packages and sightseeing during the journey. Others also propose a luxury experience, offering a stay in national reserves, chefs that will prepare any kind of food and the choice of traveling in air conditioned bus or open air trucks.
It is not sure yet how many people will traverse the continent, but a trend of ‘last minute’ booking has been remarkably spotted. On the whole though, never in its migration history, it seems, has the continent seen such a saturation of traffic heading towards south by land, air and sea. The adventure of a lifetime is really happening for many Africans, and it is definitely not only about football.