BLOEMFONTEIN — The Mangaung Municipality last week held a culture workshop to help business prepare for next month’s FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.
The Cultural Day workshop — involving businesspeople and journalists — was held at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, one of the venues for the tournament.
South Africa, Brazil, Spain and Italy will play at the recently refurbished stadium which will also host World Cup matches next year.
The Mangaung Municipality invited representatives from the visiting teams to share their cultural perspectives and expectations.
Manan Sechoara, a member of the Mangaung mayoral committee for the FIFA tournaments, said the cultural event was a milestone that proved South Africa’s readiness to host both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.
“We are here to witness yet another activity to show our readiness to host both the Confederations Cup next month and the 2010 World Cup,” Sechoara said.
She said during the apartheid era culture was used as a tool to divide South Africans.
“Culture was used as a tool to divide us,” she said. “Today we share the good moment of cultural diversity as a mechanism for development and a tool for poverty reduction.”
Italian embassy in South Africa’s representative Alberto Manai said the World Cup holders were expecting a warm welcome when they come for the Confederations Cup.
“Italians are only expecting South Africans to make them feel that a home away from home is home,” Manai said.
“The Spanish are expecting South Africans to allow them to make late visitations because of how things are done back home,” said Jaime Moreno, a representative of the Spanish embassy in South Africa.
Fernando Sena of the Brazilian embassy said the football powerhouse wanted to learn how South Africa would handle the World Cup legacy and its social responsibilities after the gala.
“We are specifically here to learn from you (about) your hospitality and how to prepare ourselves as we will host the 2014 World Cup,” Sena said.
As part of initiatives for the football tournaments, the Mangaung Municipality will put on sale a multiple-language memory card for mobile phones which is expected to make communication easier for foreign tourists.