National News

Soccer City erupts in light

2010-07-11 20:16
Closing ceremony Soccer City. (AFP)
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Johannesburg - South Africa's Soccer City erupted in lights for the World Cup closing ceremony, with singers performing a medley of local music from urban hip-hop to a cappella chorals.

The blazing farewell to Africa's first World Cup began with a flyover of three Gripen fighter jets, as the calabash-shaped stadium was bathed in blue and red lights and then ignited by fireworks that appeared to set the field alight.

Performers danced into the shape of a vuvuzela that spouted lights leading to Colombian superstar Shakira performing her song Waka Waka, the tournament's official anthem, with local band Freshlyground.

About 780 dancers clad in colourful urban youth gear broke into synchronised dance, sending the 85 000 fans into a celebratory frenzy.

Giant projectors illuminated a highlights reel using the pitch as a screen, showing the best moments of the 32 teams who played in games leading to the final between the Netherlands and Spain.

Performers marched across the field with lights leaving a trail of national flags behind them.

As the show started in Johannesburg, fireworks went off in Cape Town above the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving Dutch colonial structure, to the cheers of thousands who gathered in a plaza to watch on a jumbo screen.

Grammy winning South African a cappella act Ladysmith Black Mambazo sang Rain Rain Beautiful Rain as life-size puppets of the nation's wildlife glided around the pitch, with elephants and hippos gathering at a watering hole.

A larger-than-life marimba was then projected on the field, played by performers jumping on it.

In a symbolic gesture to thank the nations who participated, illuminated words "thank you", written in different languages lit up the field in the final moments.

The ceremony was broadcast live to 215 countries and territories, with more than 700 million people expected to watch, according to FIFA.

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