Mandela appears at Soccer City as South Africa bids farewell to World Cup

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mandela appears at Soccer City before final

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela waved to the crowd at Soccer City as South Africa bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup in emotional and joyous ceremony.

The anti-apartheid icon had kept a low profile during the monthlong tournament, having decided against attending the opening game following the death of his great-grand daughter in a traffic accident after World Cup concert.

Driven in a small golf cart and seated alongside wife, Grace Machel, a smiling, 91-year-old Mandela was welcomed by a thunderous mix of vuvuzelas and roars from the crowd. He shook hands with officials before leaving the field a few minutes later.

Earlier, Shakira performed “Waka Waka” (”This Time for Africa”,) the competition’s official song.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Shakira had fans bouncing in their seats as South Africa said farewell to the 2010 World Cup in pulsating fashion.

Shakira and the South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground danced their way through one last rendition of the cup’s theme tune — “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” — after a lights show, fireworks and military flyover at Sunday’s closing ceremony.

Also performing was Grammy Award-winning cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Not long before the ceremony, Nelson Mandela’s grandson said the 91-year-old anti-apartheid icon would greet fans before the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.

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