Moses Mabhida Stadium, the jewel of Durban

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pretoria - The Moses Mabhida Stadium is a massive and outstanding landmark in Durban and with the 2010 FIFA World Cup only months away, the jewel of Durban is gearing to host a breathtaking spectacular for millions of people from around the world.

For Florina Maphalala, the Moses Mabhida Stadium is like Durban's table mountain, a marvel that will attract people from all walks of life for many years to come and when she speaks about the stadium, her eyes light up and her passion for the Durban landmark shines through.

Maphalala, who has been dubbed Mama 2010, is responsible for managing and running the visitors centre at the stadium. She is one of the busiest people in Durban these days and with the interest in the World Cup gaining momentum, her workload is bound to increase.

"I am the face of a world class stadium. My responsibility is to ensure that the public at large, local and international guests are excited about the world cup and are willing to come back and visit the stadium.

"This is where the public gets its information, in terms of its construction, its facilities and other attractions of the stadium. What makes it different from any other job is that I get a better understanding of this beautiful city of Durban as a whole."

Before taking over the job, Maphalala was a secretary at an engineering company in Durban. One of the directors at the company recognised her potential and offered her the opportunity to work at the centre and the rest they say is history.

"Before taking on this job, people thought I couldn't do it. I was also worried because I had been a secretary since 1983 and had sort of become part of the furniture," she laughs. "But this job gave me an opportunity to show people who I really am and what I can do."

Fifty-four-year-old Maphalala has become somewhat of a celebrity in KwaMashu's J-section, a bustling township north of Durban.

"The community in KwaMashu is so proud of me," she said. "When I drive down the street, people always stop me and ask me about the stadium. I love meeting and speaking to different people so I always make sure that I make time for people where ever I go."

With more than 10 tours a day, Maphalala remains jovial and in high spirits throughout the day.

"I am looking forward to meeting different people from the 10 different countries we'll be playing against," said Maphalala.

She said the stadium has a cable car which can take visitors up to its highest point, where they can get out and enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and ocean.

She added that the stadium has become Durban's beachfront as people now prefer to spend their weekends admiring the city from its highest point.

"The Moses Mabhida Stadium is a landmark in Durban and is not like any other stadium," she said. "It becomes a tourist attraction, operating 365 days per year. It becomes Durban's table mountain, the big swing and the sky car takes you 106 metres up high from the ground.

"I feel that I am part of a legacy that will be talked about for many years to come," she says.-