Photos: South African Fans Sing, Dance At Nelson At World Cup Final Stadium To Honour Nelson Mandela
Three years ago, the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, hosted the final of the FIFA World Cup between Spain and Netherlands. It was also the final public appearance of South Africa’s founding father and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, who passed away on December 5.
Mandela had been an integral symbol of the World Cup being played on African soil for the first time, although he was increasingly frail during that period and almost unable to attend the final. The crowd welcomed their icon with a mixture of cheers and vuvuzela blasts.
So perhaps it was fitting that fans and supporters turned up in throngs to the Soccer City – the site of his final public appearance – to bid goodbye to their ‘Madiba’ at a memorial service this morning.
In typical South African style, they danced and sang through the rain and kissed large cardboard-mounted images they had brought of their leader.
World leaders, from U.S. President Barack Obama to Cuba’s Raul Castro, will honour Mandela at the memorial that will recall his gift for bringing enemies together across political and racial divides.
Rest in Peace, Madiba!