Soccer fever grips Pretoria

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pretoria - Despite the cold weather, Pretorians are feeling it - and living it.

Graynor Simons and his friend Thanyani Nethathe have put their cultural differences aside to show support for South Africa's national team in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup, later today.

The two were among fans who will display the colorful energy that soccer fans in South Africa have become famous for - with their plastic vuvuzela trumpets and headgear made from miners helmets called makarapas.

"People are going to see our style - we will sing, dance and make noise. We have vuvuzelas and makarapas," said Simons who was already geared and making noise in Pretoria on his way to Soccer City for the 2pm kick-off.

The 38-year-old Simons was sporting a homemade makarapa and carried a large Kuduzela- which is an alternative to the vuvuzela. The wind instrument is in the shape of a kudu horn and sounds like a trumpeting elephant.

"You see South Africa is alive today - from old men, old mama's, even babies," Simons said, adding that people are realising that 2010 is here and they are "no longer feeling it but rather living it."

His friend Nethathe was dressed in an overall with South African flag colors with the words "Ayoba"- which means cool - all over. His intricate makarapa featured- Danny Jordan and Mandela high above his head.

"I wear this Makarapa with pride ...these guys contributed significantly in bringing us the FIFA World Cup," said Nethathe, who said they didn't sleep last night doing their own countdown in South African style.

"The world is going to see the miracle ... Bafana Bafana are going to show them how we do it in South Africa," screamed Nethathe.

The two are some just of the many South Africans who were making noise on the streets of Pretoria since midnight. There is excitement all over; the streets are alive with colour and the sound of vuvuzelas.

Shops in Pretoria's Marabastad area opened early to accommodate fans wanting to make some last minute T-shirt and regalia shopping.

Traffic coming into the city was also characterised by vehicles sporting the National Flag as well as occupants of the cars dressed in Bafana Bafana clothing.

Once could see faces, beards and eyebrows painted with the colors of the South African flag.

Some fans draped the flag over their shoulders, some had headscarves, others donned oversized plastic glasses and bright earrings in the shape of Africa and frizzy wigs.

"It is amazing ... today we see black, white, Indian, coloured - everyone holding each other's hands. It is fantastic," said one taxi driver.

Soccer is traditionally been the sport most favoured in the country, with fans being the most colourful in the world by showing their enthusiasm with homemade costumes and signs which are sure to leave a lasting impression on television screens worldwide.

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