When you read this, the World Cup will be almost over. Tourists will be leaving in their droves as the country exhales one long, slow sigh of…of what exactly? Will it be relief that we pulled it off? Pride? Or just pure exhaustion at the end of a month where our world was briefly, thrillingly turned upside down?
For the past month, as if drugged, we've been walking around hugging complete strangers, high-fiving enemies and happily buying everything in sight that vaguely resembled a South African flag. We have sung our hearts out. We have blown vuvuzelas so loud and so proudly that even the whine of the naysayers was triumphantly drowned out. And, most importantly, we have learnt the words to Waka Waka.
And now the party is over and we're left to rub our eyes, pack the flags away and try to remember what it was we were doing before all this madness arrived. We will switch of our TVs at 4pm and 8.30pm and stare in bemusement as things like Bold and the Beautiful and Cheaters replace the daily matches. We will turn to each other and say: "Who is this Ridge Forrester and why is he not kicking a soccer ball?"
We celebrated like never before, and why not? This was the biggest tournament ever to grace our shores, and (at the time of writing) we looked likely to deliver the world its best World Cup ever. And as the conversations inevitably turn to the task of picking up the considerable tab, let's agree on one thing: it was all worth it.
There will, of course, be a hangover period, which is why we're going to be like the friend who brings you tea in the morning. This month, we salute Virgin founder, incorrigible optimist and July birthday boy Richard Branson by bringing you some of his pearls of wisdom. We consult our finance guru to survey the WC bill, look at how Joburg city parks has capitalised on the influx of tourists and look forward to three great films coming out this month.
One redeeming quality of a hangover is that it is more often than not preceded by a good time. Which means the best thing to do when in the throes of a monster babalaas is to think back to all the good times you had to get it. And there were so many of those. Tutu's dancing, Tshabalala's goal, victory against France, the stadiums - this was a party we'll never forget, and a hangover we should almost be grateful for.