Radebe named as SA Tourism's 2010 Ambassador

Friday, August 14, 2009

Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana skipper Lucas "Rhooo" Radebe has been named as SA Tourism's 2010 Ambassador to the world.

Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk made the announcement on Thursday evening at the launch of the Brand Messaging Book for Tourism in Sandton.

The 40-year-old Soweto-born former Kaizer Chiefs and Leeds United captain is no stranger to the 2010 project. Mr Radebe has been a FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children's Villages and has worked with one of the tournament's sponsors, First National Bank.

In December 2000, Mr Radebe received the FIFA Fair Play Award for his contribution in working with South African children. In 2004, he was ranked 54th in the Top 100 Great South Africans.

Minister van Schalkwyk thanked Mr Radebe for partnering with South African Tourism (SAT).

"We are truly privileged that a footballer of Lucas's stature and a human being of his calibre has agreed to partner with us to grow excitement about our destination. We look forward to working with him as 2010 approaches to spread the message of the anticipation and optimism sweeping our country," said van Schalkwyk.

The minister described Mr Radebe as an inspiration and a proud South African who loves traveling around the country.

"Now, more than ever, it is important to be an optimistic, dedicated South African with a 'can do' attitude and few people embody this spirit better than Lucas. He possesses all the qualities demanded of an ambassador. 

"He loves South Africa. He loves travelling in South Africa. He knows our destination well, and he is proud of being a South African. He is truly an inspiration," the minister said.

"Rhooo" - as he is known to his fans - will work with South African Tourism between August 2009 and the end of the tournament to help deliver destination messages and to help grow interest in South Africa globally, not only as host of the FIFA spectacular, but also as an awesome and amazing holiday destination.

Acting SAT Chief Executive Officer Didi Moyle welcomed the appointment of Mr Radebe.

"We are delighted to welcome Lucas on board. He has the stature and the global credibility this role demands. 

"He is exceptionally well travelled globally, but his heart lies here in South Africa. He loves our destination and our people. He is a champion of South Africa's ability to successfully host the World Cup," she said.

The newly-appointed Ambassador said he was excited, proud and honoured.

"Africa has waited a long, long time for the honour of hosting the world's biggest sporting spectacular. I am excited at the impending reality of welcoming the world's greatest footballers to my homeland. 

"I am proud that South Africa will host hundreds of thousands of fans. I am honoured to be associated with South African Tourism and to be given an opportunity to work with them to raise the profile of my country not only as host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup," he said. 

Meanwhile, the Brand Messaging Book for Tourism, which was launched on Thursday, will enable everyone who communicates about South Africa to share an inspirational message about the country as a tourism destination.

To get a copy of the limited Brand Messaging Book, the public can email itspossible@southafrica.net