Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Moses Mabhida Experience

I treated the staff in my department to a tour of our great stadium today to make up for not getting them cake on my birthday (It was very late, I know). The tour was awesome, so I wrote something for Durban Live (not sure if they are going to use it) and thought I'd share it here as well.

The Moses Mabhida Experience

I was extremely privileged to have attended two matches at the Moses Mabhida Stadium (Germany's thrashing of Australia in our cities opening game and the Round of 16 match, where Holland (or Netherlands, never sure which one is applicable) broke Slovakian hearts in their march towards the Final of the FIFA World Cup. So the prospect of attending the general tour of the stadium did not fill me with excitement because unlike the professional tour it did not include access to the VIP presidential suite or the state of the art change rooms. It was refreshing to see that, even a know-it-all like myself, can still be proven wrong.

For a mere R20 (Children – R15 and kids under 6 free) for a 40 minute highly entertaining tour of one of our cities most distinctive landmarks, seriously, do I need to further convince anyone. You are encouraged to take pictures or even videotape the entire tour but no video could replicate the feeling you get walking into the stadium proper. Even if you had been to on of the World Cup matches, that view still takes your breath away. We did however also take numerous pictures; running on the pitch, emerging from the tunnel, sitting in the dug-out. The tour guide was immensely funny and highly informative and appeared to genuinely enjoy his job and that made the experience all the more better.

Everything today is all about the money but it honestly feels like the people involved with the management of the stadium are sincerely interested in sharing this experience with as many people as possible. School tours are free and if combined with a visit to Mitchell Park, even rural schoolchildren could get an amazing school excursion for only the cost of the transport to get there. I can only imagine what the view from the viewing platform atop the stadium is like, but I will not be imagining long because I suspect that I will be taking my family back there soon. A trip to the viewing platform with the skycar costs R50 (kids – R25 and kids under 6 free). Admittedly, the only thing that is a tough sell for me is the “Adventure Walk” where you pay R80 for the privilege of walking the 550 steps to the viewing platform before walking back down again.

The public have free access to the perimeter of the stadium with free performances scheduled to start soon at the amphitheatre and with The Keg and Spear, Nino's, Subway and Cuba Lounge it is safe to assume that most tastes will be catered to. Every resident of Durban should visit our Stadium. All visitors to our city should visit our stadium. In fact, all tourists to our country should take the time to visit our Stadium, because it is without doubt the best in the country and because of it, I believe we finally have a realistic chance of hosting the Olympic Games.

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