The Cape Town City Hall is one of those quintessentially lovely colonial-era buildings whose gracefulness comfortably conceals the painful history it’s stone was carved out of. Today two banners honoring Mandela hung draped between the neo-classical columns adorning it’s entrance. On the curved railing in between the two silk screened Mandela’s, perched a small Africa made of red neon glass that hung like a heart that forgot to keep beating because it was so enjoying the opportunity to glow.
When Sulley Muntari twirled around and struck what seemed like an impossible goal for Ghana as the first half closed, a luminescence ran through the thousands of people from around the world assembled in front of the Cape Town City Hall to watch the match together outside on a theater-sized screen. When Sebastian Abreu’s penalty kick found the back of the net for Uruguay, we turned from a collective into a crowd. That is we stopped being together in the same way. Ghana had given us a kind of common hope, the impulse needed for disparate people – for strangers – to share. As the match ended, thousands of people turned around and simply walked away, more alone than we’d been a few moments before.