Thurs – 3 June 2010 –
On a chilly Highveld winter morning a motley crew of guides, drivers, TV production guys dragging bags and other sundry baggage arrived at the designated time at a designated place in Parktown, for our briefing and eventual transfer to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) to start work. No one really knew anyone else and so diffidently we introduced ourselves to each other, got told vaguely what we were going to be doing for the next month and had a slightly friendlier lunch, now knowing that we were all together for the next 30 – 40 days. With our extra paraphernalia and bags, we were herded onto coaches and taken to the IBC. Here we were introduced to our teams, given more paraphernalia including our buses and uniforms, so we now all looked alike (something like a Smurf?)
The next 2 days were filled with the crew learning about their equipment, us drivers and security people spent our time learning GPS’s, got told about safety procedures, etc. We, i.e. the 2 Pretoria crews overnighted in Sandton and spent time starting to get to know each other.
The bus was police checked – dog sniffed, scanned and finally cleared, fitted with a cabinet to hold our equipment. Loaded up, we now left for Pretoria on our 1st assignment.
The smurf crew, known as PTA 1 consisted of Steve – cameraman; Lindsey, Driver/guide; Andy – security (we called him Ninja); Jon – producer and Andy - editor as well as a car and a bus.
Our 1st assignment was at Atterdgeville Stadium to get the atmosphere of the friendly game between Bafana Bafana and Denmark.
Sunday – 6 June
to Rustenburg this Sunday. Our
brief; to film the Royal Bafokeng Stadium and whatever else we found.
As we drove into Phokeng Township, we encountered a group of boys
playing football on a sandy field. An hour or so later, having met the boys,
their coaches, the opposing team from a local mission station and the police
security officers, we moved onto the stadium (see background) .
Mon 7 June – M Day -4.
It was off to Johannesburg to meet Bjorn Heidenstrom.
This crazy Norwegian decided to travel on a bicycle with a trailer, through Europe and Africa to collect Football Club shirts and raise money for the UNHCR fund. We picked him and his lady friend up and then went to Mark’s Park the Wits University football training ground. Here we met up with Bjorn’s support crew. We off loaded the cycle and the interview started. Later the T Shirt was off loaded and laid out. Now with several hundred football shirts sewn together, the combined shirts weighed 500 kgs.
A very interesting man with a heart of gold who only wants to raise awareness for his charity. Bjorn’s journey will end at Cape Aghulas. The interview lasted all day and by the time we finally dropped him back home, and returned to Pretoria, it was already quite late and my guys were exhausted. With all sitting around and only going off to buy lunch, I should have to gone home, seeing I was so close. Pity about that!
Tues 8 June – Match Day -3
This was the day to catch up with household type things, laundry, shopping and then Jon and Steve filmed around Loftus Versveld Stadium, while Andy did what he does best, stayed in the edit suite to finish off editing the last few day’s worth of filming. While the guys were filming I went looking for a suitable high spot to film the stadium. Went to Fort Klapperkop. I had a Police escort to show me this spot. I found the police to be so helpful throughout the month. My hat off to them at all times. This was an ideal spot! So I went to pick up the guys and they loved the views of Pretoria and filmed there for a while.
We picked up Thulani Ngcobo - the young man who had won the MTN ‘Last Fan Standing’ competition. He was about to break the Guinness Book of Records for attending more than 20 matches during a World Cup Soccer Tournament. We had a police escort into the township and went off to his little home. This man is a football fanatic, a Kaiser Chiefs and Man U supporter; he plays 5 times a week for the local club and eats, sleeps and lives football. He was so excited about the upcoming tournament and the adventure he was about to undertake. We were invited into his 3mX3m concrete block house. It was dark, lit by one globe powered by a car battery, so filming for Steve was quite a challenge. This house was furnished with a very large ornate double bed with matching dressing table and wardrobe and a chair and that was all. The toilet was an outside longdrop and cooking was done in the house next door but in the open on a fire. After the interview, during which he showed us all his memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc, we went to meet his sister at her house in Mapopane. A very proud and happy family.
It was then off to Eastwoods for dinner; a pub/restaurant opposite Loftus. Had a great evening and really got to know each other. After that, I got teased mercilessly by the crew on all kinds of things. Always in good fun and lots of laughs.
Wed – 9 June – MDay -2.
Packed for overnight and ready to leave early, we headed off to Nelspruit.
We had an interview organised with the architect of this lovely new stadium.
The guys spent most of the day filming around the stadium. I went to the Halls shop and bought them REAL biltong and Peri Peri Cashews which they loved. In the evening – at sunset – while filming the exterior, I found out that there was a Fan Pub in town, so that is where we headed. The Jock and Java, was in the centre of Nelspruit and by 17h30 is was ‘rocking’ and getting busier. The guys filmed fans, took in the building excitement, put a few beers under their belts, we had a great dinner and we finally checked into the hotel - late, exhausted and happy with the day’s work.
We returned early back to Pretoria as Jon and Andy had editing to do. Steve, Ninja and I had the rest of the day off. Steve had stuff to sort out in JHB at IBC so they dropped me off at home. Nice to see Ray and Purdy. They picked me up a bit later and it was back to Pretoria. Steve and I took in the atmosphere at the Hatfield Fan Park – plenty expectant excitement in the packed square. We watched the opening concert at the hotel. What a show!! What energy!!! What colour and vibrancy!!! ONLY IN AFRICA! What a pleasure to have a fairly early night.
The game started, the Vuvuzelas blew and the crowd had a ball. After the game Andy (editor) & I left to return to the hotel and the others went off to the Ghana Fan Music Festival. By 2am nobody had arrived, nothing happened and it was the big non-event of the night. The event was then postponed to Sunday but we never got back to it. And so the BEAUTIFUL TOURMAMENT HAD STARTED ON A HIGH WITH SA not totally disgracing themselves.
Sun – 13 June
Today we went to Jail!
Sat – 12 June
Off Day. Steve and I chilled while Jon and Andy spent the day editing.
Zonderwater prison to be exact.
Great excitement at the
end, with the Ghana win.
Jon and Andy edited at the Host Broadcast Services and Steve and I managed to get tickets to the Ghana/ Serbia match. Lots of noise, lots of fun and reasonable footie. Ghana had their band playing and during half time they marched up and down the pit around the pitch singing and dancing.
Great excitement at the
end, with the Ghana win.
Today I learnt how the system works to get freebee media tickets and freebee meals on match days from HBS.
Another laid back day, did some shopping, took in all our laundry and in the evening headed off to meet with the German fans at the Pretoria University of Technology.
This remarkable young man came 2nd in the World Football Freestyle Play Championship. We filmed him on stage playing with our ball. I never had any idea that there’s such a sport. It was amazing to watch what can be done with a ball. We then moved up to Nelson Mandela Square. The crew filmed Kamil in various situations around the mall.
On our return to Pretoria, we went straight to Loftus, Jon and Andy set about editing, Steve and I went to the match – Cameroon vs Denmark. Cameroon played the better game but lost 2-1.
Tues – June 22
This was the last game that the SA team was to play. It was against Uruguay. We went off to find a shebeen in Mamelodi to film the fans for this game. We found a really informal bar.
The owner had to get his TV from home and then set it up. Steve filmed the whole process of getting the place ready for the afternoon match including going to the local bottle store to stock up with more beer. Jon did many interviews. The community got all excited and they dressed up in their Bafana Bafana gear. We let the kids play with our soccer ball and all the time Steve’s camera was rolling. The game started and the people arrived, bringing their own plastic chairs to sit on. There was lots of excitement and expectation of a win.
Wed – June 23
Back to the IBC for Jon and Andy to edit. Steve got a request to film children in Soweto playing football with a Chilean flag in the background. It was not easy to find this flag and eventually we talked the manager at a supermarket in Maponya Mall to sell us his display flag. We then went to find a group of boys playing footie. This was not difficult and found a group of kids in Diepkloof playing on a grassy field.
We approached the coach, who had no problem letting three of his under 11 boys do Steve’s bidding for particular film shots. When we finished, we went off to find some refreshments for the kids. They were thrilled with this gesture. A really nice bunch; well mannered and polite. We left a happy group and Steve had had a satisfying filming session.
The PTA2 crew had now finished their job so we met them at Zappa’s for a farewell supper. A fun evening was enjoyed by all and on our return to the hotel, the party continued into the early hours of the morning. I went to bed.
Thurs – 24 June
One very hung over crew climbed into the vehicles with two very alert drivers and we headed for Bloemfontein. An interview had been arranged with three Swiss journalists, a German, a French & an Italian. Somehow Jon managed the interviews with Steve filming around the stadium. I went off to investigate the Waterfront shopping and restaurant area. Beautiful setting around this lake drenched in the afternoon sun.
Fri – 25 June
It is now the turn of the German and English fans. We hung around the Waterfront all day hoping to meet up with some fans, but the match of the day was Switzerland vs Honduras, so those were the only fans we saw. We eventually gave up and just spent the day at leisure and got match tickets for the evening game. Uneventful match that ended in a draw.
Sat – 26 June
So now we had to find our fans for the Sunday game – Germany vs England. We managed to buy flags. Then Jon found some England fans by mid morning and Ninja and I went out looking for German fans. We picked up three guys at the tourist office and coerced them to join us at the Waterfront.
To meet up with Paraguay fans in Sandton. We met up with a group of youngsters carrying their Zakumi dressed in Paraguayan colours, followed them through the streets to the ticketing centre to try and buy tickets for the Paraguay vs Spain ¼ final match. Then went to the home of one of the fellows and met up with a whole group of fans where there was a celebration party in progress. We spent the afternoon with this lovely family while there was singing and dancing and just fun and laughter. What a great way to finish off our exciting WC adventure.
Thurs – 1 July
Jon & Andy finished off their last edit. I packed up. Finished off emails etc, took the guys to Centurion for their last download, had our farewell dinner with Janine and her boyfriend at Zappa’s. Once again, a great evening with good food and good company.
Friday – 2 July
And it’s all over! We all return to the IBC. Check over cars, hand in equipment, hand over car keys, hand over cell phones, dress back into civvy’s and finally have our braai lunch in the garden beforeparting company. Andy security will return to Pretoria, Jon, Andy and Steve fly back to England and Ray will fetch me to go home.
What a time we had!!! And now we have to step back into reality.
My WC experience did not end here. In the next week I was working with a very VIP group of executives and their associates from a large multinational company. We were two guides with a host of security guys around at all times. We took a coach load to the Pilanesberg for the day. They were all very excited when my group in the open vehicle sited the last cheetah, the other groups saw elephant and rhino (both black & white) andwe had a bush tea overlooking the dam and a boma lunch near Manyani gate.
next day was a visit to the Apartheid Museum and a drive
around Soweto, lunch at Moyo and some shopping. Then it was
Sunday, final shopping at the Rosebank Craft Market, lunch
Lots of excitement, lots of expectations. It was really cold but we saw our guests through the gates and off to their hospitality suite.
Chris returned to the coaches, I had brought my IBC accreditation and met up with Ben, so we went to watch the match on the 3D screen in the IBC cinema. If I could not watch the match live, this was the next best thing to do. It really brought the match to life and Spain’s win just too exciting. Ben and I raced back to the stadium at the end of the game to wait for our groups to emerge. Oi! Was it cold waiting for them!! Eventually, I met up with the group, their group leaders and security. In the crush, it took a while to get to the coaches, and we got the group back at the Westcliff by 01h30.
AND THAT WAS THAT!!!
My amazing 6 week experience of a life time had come to an end.
Sun – 27 June
This was our very first full off day. So we decided that we were going to see wild animals. After a late start, I took the team to the Rhino and Lion Park in Muldersdrift. We had a great day, we saw virtually all the animals and buck living in this reserve. We went to the Lion, Cheetah and Wild Dog feeds.
They played with the cubs in the animal crèche, viewed the Reptile house and had lots of fun. We then met up with Ray at Gilroy’s (an Irish pub also in Muldersdrift – NW of JHB) to watch England vs Germany. What a disappointment for the guys, Germany absolutely thrashed England. While at Gilroy’s and just after we had eaten a late Lunch, Jon received an invite to Moyos for dinner. This was to join our HBS Production crew for their farewell dinner as they would be leaving during the week. So we raced back to Pretoria, changed out of our dusty gear, dressed up for Moyo’s and went off to Melrose Arch. Because I had already eaten I only had a salad, everyone else had a good time. Garth from the JHB1 team was there, so we caught up with each other’s adventures. At some stage I joined the dancing and hilarity on the ground level and danced with Mexican and other fans. They too had a great time. Another very late evening.
Mon – 28 June
We did not have any assignments, so it was time to catch up with emails, photos etc and in the afternoon I took Andy and Jon for a Pretoria drive around. We had lived here for almost a month and really had not seen anything of the city. We went to Pappas for dinner and actually had a reasonable early night.
Tues – 29 June
Our 2nd last assignment was to go to a Referee’s training session.
There has been many bad referee calls during the tournament and this was a media day to see what kind of training the ref’s did and then to interview whoever we wished. An interesting morning, with well over 100 press corps being present. In the afternoon we all went off to the stadium to film, Paraquay and Japanese fans for the evening game. We could not get tickets, so Andy(Ninja), Janine and Steve managed to gate-crash the game and Jon, Andy and I returned to the hotel. Ben and I watched the game at Hatfield. Dinner at Zappas after the game. Great dinner but over ate!!!!
Wed – 30 June
Our last assignment.
Mon – June 21
The whole crew went to Florida to meet with Mrs Denise Pienaar, Steve Pienaar’s mother. We were filming a family profile feature. Mrs Pienaar is a shy lady but only too happy to talk about her successful son. He bought her this house in a quiet part of this old West Rand suburb several years ago to take his family out of Westbury, a rough gang-ruled western Johannesburg suburb. Interesting interior décor. The house is filled with memorabilia, but lacks the warmth of a home even though Mrs. Pienaar lives with her younger children and 2 foster children. When the filming around the house was finished, Andy and I went to the IBC for him to start the edit while Ninja took Mrs. Pienaar, Steve, Jon and Janine to film around Westbury. Apparently a very rough neighbourhood. This turned out to be a very long but interesting day.
The front of convoy was to be led by an Orange open top bus
Our assignment was the start of a continuing feature that was filmed all around the country as the Kampers moved from city to city for their matches. What a fun day!!! On our return, I put our names down on the media list for tickets for the game that evening – SA vs Uruguay. It was so cold in the stadium, all 5 of us left early to have our freebee supper and get home.
Sat - June 19
We went to Johannesburg to the Innes Free Fan Fest to meet Kamil Ranshod.
Sun – June 20
A fun day at Gold Reef City. It was not as busy as I would have expected, but the crew filmed all around the amusement park, Andy took one of the water rides to film the action and got quite wet. He spent the rest of day with wet feet. They interviewed several of the fun seekers. I think that Steve really enjoyed himself on this assignment. Jon and Andy worked at editing all the way back to Pretoria; we dropped them at Loftus and then return to the hotel. I finally got a call at 9 to collect them. We had a late dinner and it was off to bed after another fun day.
Wed – 16 June.
A very early, bitterly cold start. Just Ninja, Steve and myself. Jon and Andy were at the hotel editing. This was the morning to meet the ‘Oranje Kampers’ – the Netherlands fan group.
Map on a truck showing their route through Africa
Not one of the most exuberant parties; they had just travelled back from Durban after their encounter with Australia where they had won and partied most of the night. Anyway we met up with two musicians; one playing African Bongo Drums and the other, a specially made Alpine Horn painted with the German and South African flags and colours. The interesting part was that they are raising funds for the international ‘SMILE FOUNDATION’. An organisation that offers facial re-constructive surgery to disfigured persons, normally children born with cleft lips and pallets. Steve filmed, Jon interviewed, Andy held the mikes, Ninja, Janine and I just sat around. We had a bit of a supper with the Germans, watched the game on the big screen and then left. Another successful but late night.
Tues – 15 June
A late morning start and in the afternoon we headed off to ORTambo International Airport to meet Korean fans from South Korea (or so we thought). We met our translator as the group came through the arrival door, and this made the meet and greet easy. The crew travelled on the coach, did interviews and filmed the group. Andy (Ninja) and I followed in the car. We went for dinner to a small Korean restaurant in Rivonia. Interesting dinner!