Johannesburg - The "Fly the Flag for Football" campaign was launched in Johannesburg on Wednesday to build public excitement, awareness and support leading up to the two historic soccer events in South Africa.
Under the banner, "Fly the Flag for Football!", thousands of South African Flags, together with information leaflets, will be distributed to travelers and holiday makers over the Easter Weekend.
The Easter Weekend was chosen to launch the campaign as it is traditionally one of the busiest holiday periods in South Africa, with thousands of South Africans travelling across the country.
The 2010 National Communication Partnership (NCP), a joint partnership between various 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup communication organisations, hopes to distribute over 47 million South African Flags through various campaigns leading up to the start of the World Cup in June 2010.
Chairman of the NCP Nkwenkwe Nkomo said the South African flag was a powerful symbol of unity, belonging and pride.
"We are here to say our national flag is indeed a powerful symbol, a symbol of unity, a symbol of birth of a nation and a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit.
"We look forward to have this country carpeted in these wonderful colours when the eyes of the world are focused on South Africa, as we host the Confederations Cup and after that the World Cup," he said at the launch.
Mr Nkomo urged South Africans from all walks of lives to rally behind the preparations to host the events.
"It is important for us to also realise that for 2010 to be a success it is not only going to be the responsibility of Dr Irvin Khoza and Dr Danny Jordan [Local Organising Committee CEO and Chairman respectively] and the rest of the LOC tea.
"It is for you and me to take up the responsibility of making sure that wherever we are, we are ambassadors of 2010," said Mr Nkomo.
Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the government was pleased to be part of the partnership and its initiatives to build unity and pride through the Confederations Cup and World Cup.
"We can only succeed in realising our vision for the country if all sectors of society work together. The 2010 World Cup and related events have correctly been identified as a communication opportunity of a lifetime for South Africa," he said.
He said sporting events presented significant opportunities to foster national pride and unity.
"Sport is an arena of great emotion. It is a space of competition, leadership, hardship and conquering great challenges. If we remember the national celebration around the Rugby World Cup in 1995 in South Africa we can see the tremendous potential of the 2010 FIFA World Cup," he said.
South African football superstar Mark Fish has been roped in to garner support and spread the message to the public for the duration of the campaign as the official spokesperson.
"All South Africans have to be involved to make sure that come 2010 we are ready to show the world what the African continent can do, it is time to fly the flag and be proud," he said.