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June 11, 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ gets under way!

Fans inside Soccer City

Fans inside Soccer City. Photo courtesy Tara Turkington

The first African FIFA World Cup™ is officially underway! The 2010 tournament’s opening ceremony is taking place at Soccer City in Soweto amid a sea of colours, predominantly green and gold. It’s being broadcast in more than 200 countries around the world and watched live on TV by thousands of people here in Cape Town who weren’t able to make the trip up to Gauteng.

The ceremony began with a fly-past by 5 military jets and the words “Welcome home, world. It is time,” followed by a short video. Praise singer Xolani Mkhiva then took to the stage.

Women dressed in traditional dress, as well as blankets woven in the colours of the South African flag, sang and danced to the beat of African drums. A giant dung beetle puppet rolled a soccer ball onto the impressive pitch.

The 30-minute ceremony showcased a cast of 1 581 world-class artists, dancers, musicians and performers, presenting a showcase of the continent’s rich cultural heritage, while encapsulating Africa’s progress.

Today’s big drawcard was Grammy Award winner R Kelly who performed his song Sign of a Victory with the Soweto Spiritual Singers.

Other musical performers included local trumpeter Hugh Masekela, Nigerian Femi Kuti, who performed famous track, Bang, Bang, Bang, Algerian Afro-pop artists Khaled legendary Ghanaian Osibisa, as well as popular South African musicians Thandiswa Mazwai, Hip-Hop Pantsula (HHP), TKZee and Timothy Moloi.

Artists performed a rendition of the renowned “click song” by Miriam Makeba, followed by a tribute to Siphiwo Ntshebe, who died of meningitis days before he was to sing “Hope” – a song that contains a message from former president Nelson Mandela.

Current president Jacob Zuma watched from the stands alongside his FIFA counterpart Sepp Blatter. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was among the other dignitaries decked out in South African colours.

Many of the seats in the impressive stadium remained empty for the duration of the opening ceremony, in part because of the traffic chaos experienced in some areas of Johannesburg and Soweto.

opening ceremony

A scene from the opening ceremony. Photo courtesy Tara Turkington

opening ceremony

The incredible opening ceremony at Soccer City. Photo courtesy Tara Turkington

The opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™

The opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Photo courtesy Richard King

Video courtesy Tara Turkington

See also:

South Africa draw against Mexico in World Cup opener

Bafana Bafana about to face Mexico in World Cup curtain raiser

The opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ – A Cape Town Tourism photo essay

Soccer City: where vuvuzelas blow the loudest

Football fans flood Soweto as the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives!

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