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This year's World Cup takes on a distinctly African flavor thanks to its host country. South Africa's rich traditions will be on display during the games - in particular, expect to hear the drone of vuvuzelas in the stands and see brightly colored makarapa hats adorning heads.
South Africa has undertaken massive efforts to prepare for the World Cup, upgrading facilities, readying its police force and training volunteers to help manage the influx of tourists. The country hopes the World Cup will bring positive attention and boost local goods like the wine and beef industries.
But the World Cup also brings attention to some of the challenges facing South Africa - ongoing HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics, povery and a poor education system to name a few. In the stories below, read about the many facets of South Africa's culture, history and society that will be on display when the world descends for the big tournament.