News / Africa

World Cup Concert Overshadowed by Death of Mandela's Great-Granddaughter

Multimedia

Audio
Delia Robertson

The FIFA 2010 World Cup launched Thursday evening with the official "kick-off" concert.  The excitement generated by the concert was dampened Friday morning as South Africans learned of the death of elder statesman Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter in a motor vehicle accident.

Tens of thousands celebrated at Orlando Stadium in Soweto where Colombian singer Shakira sang the official anthem of the 2010 World Cup along with South African group Freshly Ground.

South African president Jacob Zuma made a brief appearance with FIFA's Sepp Blatter.  The pre-dominantly South African crowd went wild when Mr. Zuma articulated the country's joy at hosting the World Cup.



"I [would like] to say South Africa is very happy to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup," said President Zuma.

Mr Zuma applauded his fellow citizens for showing a warm welcome to the 300,000 visitors attending the event.

"I want to thank you and also ask you to show this warmness for the whole duration of the tournament until they leave South Africa," said Mr. Zuma.

The South Africa leader also emphasized that this is an event for the continent of Africa.

"Africa is hosting this tournament, South Africa is a stage, South Africa is rocking, is cool," he said.

The concert was also aimed at publicizing a World Cup related education initiative known as 1Goal Education, which FIFA and South Africa hope will ensure a basic education for as many as 72 million African children.  The concert was interspersed with video clips to highlight and illustrate how important it is to educate children, one in particular illustrated the difference outcomes for educated and non-educated girls.

"One goal, education for all; one goal education for all," said a 1Goal announcement.

Renowned South African trumpeter, 71-year-old Hugh Masekela wowed the crowd with a rendition of Grazing in the Grass.

But it was the contribution of South African folk singer Vusi Mahlasela who had the crowd rocking Orlando stadium to its foundations with his rendition of Say Africa.

It was left to Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu to remind the crowd that thanks were due to former president and fellow laureate Nelson Mandela without whose efforts it is unlikely the World Cup would have come to South Africa.

"I think we have got to pay a wonderful tribute to a man to whom we owe all of this, he is in Johannesburg and if we make a loud enough noise he will hear us and so we say, halala Nelson Mandela," said Desmond Tutu.

Mr Mandela's family made it clear that despite his frail health he hoped to make a brief appearance at the opening game between South Africa and Mexico to share his joy with the country.  But tragically Mr Mandela's joy was severely tempered by the death of his 13-year-old great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela as she was traveling home from the concert.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation says 91-year-old Mr Mandela is mourning with his family and will now not attend the opener.  The foundation asked for understanding and urged all to allow the family to mourn in private.

Despite the tragic accident, excitement is in the air as South Africa hosts the World Cup.  Thursday night's joyous concert in Soweto featured rising South Africa star Lira who sang an old Miriam Makeba favorite, Pata Pata.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More