Mother City gears up for 2010 party

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cape Town - As the final finishing touches are added to Cape Town's FIFA Fan Fest, soccer fans are bracing for one of the biggest parties to hit the mother city.

About 17 000 revelers are expected to gather from Thursday afternoon at the FIFA Fan Fest on the Grand Parade and another 50 000 on the streets of Cape Town's inner city.

The party will begin at 2pm tomorrow and artists such as the spectacular R Kelly, Kurt Darren, HHP, Vicky Sampson and JR of Make Da Circle Beega fame, are expected to start wooing the crowds at around 9pm.

Flaming torches will light a cauldron on the historic balcony of the City Hall where former President Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after being freed from prison in 1990.

This will signal the start of a 2 000-strong carnival to be led by minstrels and the switching on of Adderley Street's spectacular soccer lights.

While Metrorail trains will run until 1am Friday, the city's new MYCiTi bus service will continue its newly introduced service between the airport, as well as the inner city circular route.

Speaking on Tuesday at a media briefing at the City Hall, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said there was a real big vibe among Capetonians ahead of the event.

"Lots of people are talking about flags and saying that there are not a lot of flags around and that there is not a vibe around.

"I need to say that for the last three or four weeks I was basically running around from one venue to another," said Plato, who added that he had attended a church in the city on the weekend where the congregation burst into a diski dance.

Cape talk radio presenter Solly Philander, who will MC Thursday night's World Cup Welcoming Party at the FIFA Fan Fest, said he was "incredibly excited" about the soccer tournament.

"We are so cosmopolitan, we are such a great mix that I just think, bring the world, bring the world! We are so ready for the party of a lifetime!"

Philander, who said he would be hanging out at the Fan Fest every day believed the World Cup was an opportunity for Capetonians to show the entire world that they could host an event of this kind and that they knew "how to party".

"I think within the stadiums you're going to get a real sense of the game and the FIFA aspect of it. I really believe that if you're in the stadium you could be in any stadium of the world.

"When you come outside that's when you're going to experience the country and that's what I'm up for," he said, joking that after the World Cup, house prices were going to go up as every one discovered how beautiful the city really was.

Construction worker Fredrick Mbasela from Strand who was working on setting up marquees at the Fan Fest said he was excited and said he would be at the Fan Fest for the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico.

He believed the World Cup would change everything and bring with it more jobs and tourists for South Africa.