Opening Ceremony dazzles

Friday, June 11, 2010

Johannesburg - After six years of waiting, the much anticipated first 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first to be held on African soil, opened at 2pm, with all the promised pomp, splendor and colour.

A large crowd at Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium, as well as viewers all over the world, were entertained by artists from different parts of the continent in true African style in the Opening Ceremony of the biggest sporting spectacle that was themed "Welcoming the World Home".

They reveled to the sounds of trumpeter Hugh Masekela, the charismatic Nigerian star Femi Kuti, who performed the famous 'Bang, Bang, Bang' track, Algerian Afro-pop artist Khaled, the legendary Ghanaian band Osibisa, as well as top-class South African artists Thandiswa Mazwai, Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), TKZee and vocalist Timothy Moloi, among others.

But it was multiple Grammy Award winner R Kelly, who stole the show, wooing the crowd with the ceremony's showpiece song, 'Sign of a Victory' together with South Africa's Soweto Spiritual Singers.

A sea of green and yellow soccer fans entered into magnificent calabash-shaped stadium from around 10am with calm and excitement.

Fans were dropped off at the doorstep of the stadium by buses, taxis and trains from the Park and Ride, while others used the park and walk initiatives.

There is a heavy police presence in and around the stadium, while the South African Air Force is keeping a close eye by air.

The crowd and fans all over the world are now anxiously awaiting the historic Opening Match of the football tournament, between Bafana and Mexico. The match will kick off at 4pm. -