Stars ready for closing ceremony

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Johannesburg - The star-studded line-up expected to dazzle South Africans and the world for the World Cup closing ceremony is gearing up for the mother of all parties.

And Colombian singer Shakira, one of the many artists billed to perform, says she is ready to wow the world when she enters the pitch on Sunday evening.

The sexy singer has been billed to perform the official song of the World Cup, Waka-Waka, along-side local group Freshlyground in what is expected to be a colourful and high tech ceremony.

"The opening concert was one of the happiest moments in my life, I've never ever imagined in my life that I would be a football fanatic as I am today. The concert was one of the emotional moments, it was just incredible and I'm looking forward to the closing ceremony," the star told reporters on Saturday.

Shakira and Freshlyground performed Waka-Waka (which means shine in Swahili) for the first time during the FIFA opening concert at Orlando Stadium on 10 June. Since then the song has had more than 83 million hits on Youtube.

"Waka-Waka has become the song of hope for South Africa, a country that has overcome so many barriers ...and I hope things get better everyday. What struck my attention about this country is the humility of the people and I really had a great time here," she said.

She will be bringing on stage a group of young girls from South Africa something she referred to as a "tribute to the young women of this country".

"Ideally I wanted to strengthen the strength of South African women and indeed African women so really it is going to be only women on the stage with me tomorrow," she said.

The singer will be supporting Spain in tomorrow's final. "I've been supporting Spain ever since the start of the tournament and I hope the Octopus gets it right," she quipped.

Unlike the traditional African theme witnessed during the opening ceremony on 11 June, organisers say the closing ceremony will be "youthful and full of vibe". LOC chief marketing officer Derek Carsten said the organisers wanted to leave a lasting legacy that will "tell a story" rather than just ending a FIFA tournament.

"Its not only about the stars and the tournament, it's also about the story of our country. Its going to be a function that will be celebrating our country, the fan experience and the celebration of the event. We want people to see that it has been a fan-centred event. We will be celebrating the traditions of the country in a very unique way through song and dance. We have wonderful variety, its an experience you don't want to miss," Carsten said.

The 27 minute ceremony starts at 18:30 and FIFA is on Saturday expected to release a VIP list of the dignitaries expected to attend the event. There has still been no news on the attendance of former President Nelson Mandela. People have been urged to be seated at Soccer City Stadium no later than 18:00.