In less than nine months the tournament that has captured South Africa's collective imagination for over half a decade will kick-off and the entire nation will find itself in the global limelight on a scale never seen before.
It was with this in mind that South African Tourism – South Africa’s official tourism promotion agency – set out to capture the nation’s spirit in a dance. And so the Diski Dance was born.
Diski is common South African slang for the game of football, and the Diski Dance is a uniform routine that showcases the nation's passion for the sport. The dance is based on what Wendy Ramokgadi, the choreographer of the Diski Dance, calls 'our own township football style'.
“The whole idea was that we needed to come up with something that is truly South African. Our country's football is rhythmic and so all the moves that we use in the dance are those same moves that are used on the South African football pitch, moves you can only find in our country,” says Ramokgadi.
“The Diski Dance is one of the things I am most proud of, I really am excited about it. When these people come to our country, let them come and feel the rhythm of Africa. We must just work, wear, eat, sleep the Diski Dance,” exclaimed Ramokgadi.
For Sugen Pillay of South African Tourism, the Diski Dance is about preparing to host the world next year.
“The concept of the Diski Dance is to show our welcoming spirit as a nation,” said Pillay.
They intend to mobilise the nation through the dance, from corporate organisations and schools, to government and the general public.
During the friendly football game between the South African National football team and Jamaica, in Mangaung/Bloemfontein on Tuesday night, for the first time the Diski Dance was taught to the whole stadium during half time.
The South African team have learnt the dance, cabinet ministers have learnt the dance and most recently one of South Africa’s most popular musical acts, Goldfish, performed the Diski.
The live electronica act, incorporating Dominic Peters and David Poole, have opened for stars like Fatboy Slim, Mr Scruff and Stereo MCs and hence are no strangers to the best of dancefloor culture.
“We travel the world, excite and unite millions, but for us the biggest fish of all is showcasing South Africa, its people and its dynamism. We challenge all SA to learn the Diski Dance, showcase their pride and shout to the world ’bring it on’,” says Peters.
Through a viral advertising campaign the Diski Dance has sparked a revolution, people from all over the country have started learning to do the Diski and find the experience intoxicating.
“It rocks. It captures the essence of Africa, and gets deep into its spirit and soul,” says Colleen Dacruz, an advertising sales executive.
Chantal Lourens, who works in real estate, thinks the dance is fantastic. “When I first saw the Diski Dance it made me very proud. It’s very contagious, l can see people trying to do it all over.”
“The response is just phenomenal, everybody just loves the dance. So let's all come onboard and do this together, and show the world we are passionate about soccer, let’s show them the African way, the African way of playing, ours is rhythmic,” says Ramokgadi.