News / Africa

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

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid