A little girl’s death has cast a shadow over World Cup celebrations in South Africa and kept ex-President Nelson Mandela away from the opening match.
His 13-year-old great grand-daughter Zenani was killed in a car crash returning from the World Cup Kick-off Concert.
On what should have been a perfect day for fans and Madiba as Mandela is known, football enthusiasts’ feelings in Soweto were mixed.
“How devastating it must be for Madiba,” said Soweto visitor Karen Morgan. “Everyone was looking forward to seeing him at this game this afternoon and how tainted the day must be for him because it was such a joyous day for him.”
“I am half happy and half sad because you know what is happening today,” said local resident Bongani Thwala. “We have to be happy but due to this….That is why I am saying, I am half happy, half sad, but deepest condolences to the family.”
Mandela’s presence had never been guaranteed. He will turn 92 next month and his health is frail. He is now mourning Zenani who only celebrated her 13th birthday on Wednesday. The car’s driver has been charged with drink-driving.