SA starts the 2010 countdown


    National flags flew high during celebrations
    marking 100 days to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

    There’s no doubt that South Africans are
    excited about the upcoming World Cup.

    South Africans are ready to welcome the
    world with the spirit of ubuntu.

    An excited South African blowing a kuduzela.
    (Images: Bongani Nkosi)

    • Thembelihle Radebe
    Media & Communications
    Public Liaison Department
    City of Johannesburg
    +27 11 407-7353
    +27 082 377 3747
    • Jermaine Craig
    Media Manager
    2010  Local Organising Committee
    +27 11 567 2010
    +27 83 201 0121

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    Bongani Nkosi

    It’s less than 100 days until the world’s biggest football spectacle kicks off on African soil, and South Africa, the host nation, is gripped by euphoria as it counts down.

    The country marked 100 days to the 2010 Fifa World Cup in original local vibe.  Song and dance characterised celebrations in Sandton, Johannesburg, and of course the vuvuzelas blared feverishly.

    The nation’s flags were hoisted high by many and the green and yellow jerseys of the South African national team signified the nation’s exhilaration.

    The street event in Sandton, organised by the City of Johannesburg and South Africa Tourism, coincided with other celebrations across the country. From Pretoria to Durban, the country became a hive of excitement in anticipation of the tournament.

    “[The excitement] is about South Africa and we’re taking it to the world,” musician Brian Temba, who was based in the UK until 2009, said from stage. A number of musicians, including Khanyo Maphumulo, Lulu Dikana, Camagwini, Watershed and many others, brought the stage alive to encapsulate the excitement of South Africans for the long-awaited event.

    “What an amazing day. It is 100 days to go. We will have an incredible event in South Africa,” said Lupi Ngcayisa, a producer at local radio station Metro fm.

    Ngcayisa, who runs a charitable campaign supplying underprivileged children with new school shoes, brought the message home to fellow South Africans that their visitors will expect nothing but ubuntu when they arrive in June. “It is up to us to ensure that the people who come here are treated with the utmost respect.”

    Sorina “The Flooze” Erasmus from popular local soapie 7de Laan was one of the stars of the event and got everyone hyped up about the Diski Dance, a dance style she, like many other South Africans, seems to have perfected.

    The City of Johannesburg used the day to send a message to the world that it’s ready to welcome them. Johannesburg is the only city in the country that will host matches in two stadiums, Ellis Park and Soccer City, and will stage 15 games including the opening match, a semi-final and the final.

    City employee Smokey de Clown, as he identified himself, could have easily won a prize for best dressed South African on the day. With a painted face and a strange outfit, designed from his work uniform, De Clown was a real clown, but he had an important message for tourists: “We want to show the world that Joburg is ready. Bring the world cup to Joburg.”

    Thanks for Football Fridays

    David Mabu is one of those colourful football fanatics who never misses a Bafana Bafana game. Mabu, a staunch Kaizer Chiefs supporter, was visibly excited as he moved and swayed with the singing crowd. “I’m the happiest fan… I’m even happy that South Africans are starting to get excited.

    “We’re the luckiest generation. This did not happen in our fathers’ time, but it’s happening in 2010,” said Mabu.

    He’s grateful for Football Fridays, the campaign spearheaded by the International Marketing Council that urges people to wear a football jersey every Friday until the World Cup kicks off. “I’m impressed by whoever created the Football Fridays concept. People are starting to buy Bafana jerseys, that will inspire the team.”

    Encouraging Bafana Bafana

    Nobody doubts that the nation will get behind Bafana. The vuvuzela has become an unstoppable phenomenon and it will be blaring in support of the team. The nation will sing songs of support and the world will know that “Africa’s time has come, Ke Nako” indeed, as a local slogan goes.

    “We should encourage Bafana Bafana in whatever way we can,” said Benedict Majatladi from Alexandra.

    “We know what Bafana needs, they need power. The power inside of you can do wonders,” said singer Lulu Dikana, exhorting the national squad.

    The main event marking the 100 days remaining to the first match, which sees South Africa and Mexico face off, took place in Durban. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Fifa President Sepp Blatter and about 120 local and international journalists were in attendance.

    “South Africans are excited for a good reason,” President Jacob Zuma said at an event in the UK. “The World Cup provides an excellent opportunity to promote our country as a place of dynamism, growth and opportunity.”