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May 26, 2009

Meet Zakumi – FIFA 2010 official mascot

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Zakumi with a young fan at ITB Berlin 2009

When you think of leopards, do wild green hair, excited eyes and a winning smile come to mind? If not, prepare to meet a cute cat that’s changed its spots: the fun-loving, proud and warm-hearted Zakumi.

Zakumi, the official mascot of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, has roots in Cape Town – he was designed by Capetonian Andries Odendaal. 

His name is a combination of “ZA” representing South Africa, and “kumi”, meaning the number “10” in various African languages.

“Zakumi is a proud South African and, as such, an ideal ambassador for the first African World Cup,” said FIFA Local Organising Committee head Danny Jordaan at the mascot’s official TV debut in September last year. “He was born in 1994, the same year as the country’s democracy. He is young, energetic, smart and ambitious, a real inspiration for young and old, and not only in our country.” 

When former Bafana Bafana player Lucas Radebe met Zakumi he said, “He is extremely proud to be the official mascot and determined to be the best host possible for all fans visiting our beloved country. I am sure he will be a great animator for fans and players as well as for all of us small and grown-up kids.”

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