“We are very happy to host the FIFA World Cup.”
With those words, the South African President Jacob Zuma gave the signal for the party to begin. And just hours before the national side kicks off the tournament against Mexico, Soweto’s Orlando Stadium hosted the official World Cup concert.
US band Black Eyed Peas opened the colourful festival of African music featuring local artists as well as international stars such as Alicia Keys and Shakira.
As in 1995, when South Africa – newly freed from apartheid – staged and won the rugby World Cup, some say this tournament can unite the country.
“I have been to the bafana bafana parade,” said music fan David, moved to tears with emotion. “I’ve seen white and black, men and women dance together. It’s amazing, we are all together for this.”
The concert was broadcast around the world. The proceeds will help build 20 centres across Africa to provide education, healthcare and football training for disadvantaged communities – part of FIFA’s social campaign for the World Cup.