Before heading for Sunday Mass, we stopped over at Green Point Stadium of football fame. You know, that white porcelain bowl sitting on reclaimed area.
In South Africa, Green Point touches a sensitive chord. Its history embraces many childhood memories for many South Africans. Home to an 18,000-seat stadium dating from the 1940s, it hosted many football matches and concerts of great artists the likes of the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. It was also the modest venue for the Concert for the benefit of AIDS victims in 2003.
To pave way for a colossal stadium hosting the World Football Cup (FIFA) 2012, this historic building was (regretfully?) demolished in 2007. History erased.
Now 15 storeys high. Spanning 6 city blocks. Seating all of 68,000 eager spectators. Retractable glass roof to allow more natural light. 530 toilets, 16 lifts and a jail (Yes, Virginia, a jail!) 250 VIP lounges. 59 gates. 115 entry turnstiles. 530 lavatories . And four TV studios. The edifice rises like a porcelain bowl somewhere in this posh “white” neighborhood. Very impressive, indeed. And for sure, this stunning white apparition looking like a UFO cost the South African and city government a whole bunch.
Was it worth the US $330 million spent on it? Well, one thing’s for sure. Football is BIG here in South Africa.