The South African media said the country has to build on the success and unity inspired by the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ to tackle pressing social challenges.
"We've done it!" blared The Times front page, adding: "Now the lessons of hosting the Cup must be applied to service delivery." The paper added in its editorial: "The tournament could not have come at a better time. Just a few months ago... our very existence as a united and non-racial nation was being questioned. But with the World Cup came the outpouring of South African patriotism in ways we have never seen before."
The same energy is needed to tackle enormous challenges like crime and unemployment, the paper said. "This is a spirit we should not lose now that the tournament has ended."
"FIFA World Cup 2010 has opened the eyes of the world to what we have to offer, while simultaneously reminding South Africans what is possible," said Business Day. "It is a sublime combination, rich with opportunities we dare not waste."
The Star hailed the conclusion of Africa's first FIFA World Cup as a pivotal moment for the continent. "Africa is the dark continent no longer, after the lights of the world lit it up from Cape to Cairo last night," said the paper's front page. "It was a grand World Cup, a fantastic tournament – it was Africa's coming of age."
"South Africa has shown the world that Africa is indeed capable of hosting the greatest show on earth with flair, enthusiasm and immense competence," said The Citizen in an editorial.
The Cape Times hit out at local "vocal whingers" who doubted the country could pull off a successful tournament. The event also showed most South Africans were not "the race-obsessed types" portrayed on some newspaper letter pages or radio talk shows, it said. "We can and mostly do get along just fine, actually," it said.
Thanking those involved down to the pitch workers and road sweepers, the newspaper editorial also looked ahead. "Dare we now dream that their effort and example can inspire other arenas of endeavour? That would be a benefit beyond measure."
"We thank you, SA" said The Sowetan newspaper on its front page. "The organisers did their work superbly and the whole country entered into the spirit of the game with a frenzy we have not experienced since we became a true democracy," said the newspaper's editorial. "South Africa has also learnt valuable lessons about the sheer joy that unity of purpose can give."