Johannesburg — Tears flowed and screams echoed around Lanseria International Airport on Tuesday night when American singer Lady Gaga arrived.
"I can't believe it happened, I saw my idol. I've waited a long time to see her, it's the best feeling in the world," Bornman de Villiers, 24, said while sitting on the floor crying like a baby.
Some people had been at the airport all afternoon to catch a glimpse of Mother Monster, as she is also known to her fans.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, who goes by the stage name of Lady Gaga, was visiting South Africa as part of her "Born This Way" world tour.
Hundreds of schoolchildren were there. A five-year-old boy shouted: "I love Lady Gaga". People held up posters reading "Welcome to SA Gaga" and "We love you Lady Gaga".
Outside on the viewing deck fans chanted "Gaga, Gaga, Gaga" when her plane landed around 7.30pm. Thirty minutes later she appeared wearing a black and gold dress, black gloves and sunglasses, and waved and blew kisses to the hundreds of people waiting for her. About eight bodyguards dressed in black and several more police officers escorted her.
An airport official stopped her from entering the arrivals terminal where fans had formed a tunnel for her to walk through. A Big Concerts employee told Sapa the official felt there were too many people and that it was not safe for her.
Disappointed fans screamed and shouted.
"I can't fucking believe I had to wait all day and I couldn't see her," one man said.
A woman added: "How could the police do this to us? We waited for hours."
Matthew Gijzen, 24, said: "If it wasn't for the official I would have been able to see my idol."
People then ran to the airport gate in a hope of seeing her convoy of six Mercedes-Benz Vito vans, three black and three silver, leave. Gaga however made her entourage turn around and spent about five minutes signing autographs and smiling for the cameras.
"She came back in style for the people who stuck around for hours waiting for her," Lweendo Muntanga, 20, said.
"Mother monster cares about her little monsters," said Dustin August, adding that he was "mind-blown for ever".
After she left, elated fans exchanged pictures and stories about her arrival. They spoke excitedly about how she had signed photos and CD covers, how cute she looked, how friendly she was, and how they got to touch her.
Gaga was scheduled to perform at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Friday and at the Cape Town Stadium on December 3.