UNIT Aracaju, Brazil

Zahira Asmal presents on South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup with Brazil.

On the cusp of Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Zahira Asmal, founder of DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA, shared insights on South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at a seminar on International Design, Cities and Sporting Mega Events hosted by Universidade Tiradentes in Aracaju, Brazil.

The invitation to lecture was due to the work done by D_ZA for the Design, Cities & World Cup programme, which used the energy and knowledge created by South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup to instigate a broader discussion on how good design combined with sporting mega events are able to improve urban infrastructure and services.

In this regard, Asmal talked on what the World Cup meant to South African cities, as well as provided some background on why D_ZA considered the World Cup crucial within the context of South Africa’s democratic development. Her focus was on Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, but she also looked at how the World Cup impacted the country and its people more broadly. In doing so, she had regard to the role of design, as well as how this has shaped the concept of movement in South African cities.

Her talk in Brazil was topical in light of Brazil’s preparations for both the 2014 Fifa World Cup, as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics. She brought in South Africa’s experience with public engagement, and how this engagement was a central feature of South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup.

DESIGNING_SOUTHAFRICA’s interaction with this narrative culminated in the book, Reflections & Opportunities: Design, Cities & the World CupPublished in 2012, the book was unique in being published in two languages – English and Brazilian Portuguese.

In so doing, a dialogue across the south Atlantic began, one that not only tapped into the growing geo-political relationship between Brazil & South Africa, but that also tapped into a tale of two developing countries, both trying to find themselves in the world while attempting to narrow the gap between rich and poor.