When Bafana Bafana scored their first goal against France on Tuesday, I – along with the rest of the Melrose Arch fan park – nearly went mental. When they scored their second goal, I didn't even mind that the fan next to me practically emptied his beer can on my head while he was busy going mental. When they scored their third goal, I went completely mental (in my defence, I wasn't the only one), but obviously that was a false alarm because it was actually a replay. At least, that's what my fellow football expert friend and I thought. We later learned the truth – something about off-sides (how anal can you get?) – and no third goal after all. Boohoo. Anyway, Bafana Bafana were leading 2 goals to 0. How unbelievable?
After the first two beauties, I had absolutely no doubt that our boys would score a third, maybe even a fourth? But when France scored to make things 2-1, I started panicking. Not so much because I thought France would beat us with their 10 man team, but because a certain sangoma's prediction was coming true… On Tuesday morning, SA news channels reported that a sangoma from Khayelitsha had been visited by the ancestors and that the ancestors had told him SA would beat France 2-1.
By the time the whistle blew – confirming my fear that the next Nostradamus was busy throwing bones on the Cape Flats – I was properly freaked out. It felt like the basis of my entire world view was collapsing around me. If Sammy the Sangoma was the only person in the country who honestly thought that Bafana Bafana would give France a whipping after the Uruguay debacle, then did that mean that all the crystal collecting, incense burning, astrology believing, spiritual advising, witch-doctoring, fortune-telling, numerology nut-cases had a point?
Perhaps I should be on the first plane to Khayelitsha? And then Sammy could consult his bones and/or his forefathers and could tell me whether I would ever weigh 55 kilos? Or did I really want to know…
After a sleepless night, I spent yesterday morning googling the sangoma and his prediction. And I couldn't find any news reports like the one I'd heard on the radio. I did however, find another prediction by another Khayelitsha sangoma, one "Benjamin Zimema". He had declared that Bafana Bafana would beat France (which I think is prophetic in and of itself, actually) BUT he predicted that we'd win 2-0. So he was not the Nostrodamus who was going to put me out of my dieting misery. Where was the real sangoma who could really see into the future? Maybe he'd asked IOL to remove all references to him in their news reports because he was being inundated with calls from prospective clients like myself?
I was beginning to believe that this was the case, because I really could not find this very current, very topical news article on the net. But I was determined not to give up that easily, so I broadened my search criteria and started looking lower and lower down the Google listings.
And then I found a link to a worldnews.com article from 2 June 2010, in which a Cape Town sangoma predicted that "Bafana Bafana would make it to the World Cup semi-finals".
Er, not so prophetic. Just very, very optimistic.
Ten points for sangoma patriotism, but zero points for clairvoyance.
What a relief! I can now re-inhabit the mind of the skeptical self that I know and love.
And yes, that would be the same skeptical self that thought our boys didn't honestly stand a chance against the Frenchies. Thanks for proving me wrong, guys – you ROCKED on Tuesday! Viva vuvuzelas, Bafana Bafana and all of us fans!