Colleen van Eyk, 60, public relations and marketing manager for the Sun City, South Africa resort was found strangled in her staff residence on Sunday. The incident occurred during the FIFA Football Medicine Conference, an industry run-up gathering held ahead of World Cup soccer there this summer. No media reports have made connections between motive and the upcoming event. Van Eyk began working for the resort in 1992.
The tragedy is a terrible and ironic blow to the host country of the massive worldwide event struggling with its image. A slow world economy, higher costs of travel to the distant location, and safety concerns have kept tick sales lower than usual.
A few weeks ago, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke hit back with forceful quotes against critics, “It’s sad that every morning when you wake up people are saying you should not go to South Africa … it’s insane and it is completely wrong,” said Valcke. “Where can we organise the World Cup? On the moon? Where there is no-one?” he asked. “Don’t kill the World Cup before the World Cup has taken place.”
Sun City is most associated in the American psyche with apartheid. Tensions boiled over into pop culture in the 1980s when many musicians participated in a boycott of the resort, resulting in the “Sun City” (ain’t gonna play) protest song in 1985.
[The Bridge of Time at Sun City, via Wikipedia]