Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the Archbishop of Durban, has asked South Africa to welcome and learn from the world during the World Cup. Speaking on behalf of the country’s Catholic bishops, he extended his prayers and best wishes to the South African Football team Bafana and hoped they would “dispel all the past negativity.”
The cardinal said that the country is holding its collective breath for the team. “We want you to be the best,” his June 11 statement said. “We know that you will surprise us all.”
“Halala (‘Good luck’) Bafana!” he exclaimed.
The most important participants in the World Cup, he added, are the people of South Africa.
“Let us welcome our visitors and take this opportunity to meet and encounter the world and each other. Let us not be the same when the world cup is over! Let us all have learned about and shared a wider world. Halala South Africa!”
He also urged that safety be ensured for children and other vulnerable groups, saying the World Cup shouldn’t come at the cost of “human beings being unscrupulously used, traded or trafficked and discarded.”
“I wish all the fans, players, coaches, staff and organizers well for the tournament. I particularly commend all the volunteers who will make the world feel at home,” Cardinal Napier’s message concluded. “South Africa, let us welcome the world, encounter the world, learn from the world so that the world will know that we remain the Rainbow nation, diverse and united.”