SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

19 January 2013

South Africa: The Afcon Beat Gets Africa Moving

Pretoria — The beat was definitely at Africa's feet when the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) kicked off in spectacular style at the National Stadium in Johannesburg today.

The crowd gathered at the stadium, as well as viewers from all over the country and the continent, watched in awe as the country's top artists dazzled.

Even though the rain showed no mercy to the festivities, fans shouted in delight as dancers and artists entertained.

With the rain threatening to slow down the musical spectacle, the crowd still revelled to the sounds of Ringo Madlingozi, Sibongile Khumalo, the soulful Judith Sephuma, Afro-pop sensation Siphokazi and former Idols contestant Ayanda Nhlangothi, among others.

But it was South African singing sensation Lira, who stole the show with her dance moves and wooed the crowd with the song Higher, made popular by the late Afro-pop queen Brenda Fassie.

A sea of colour brightened up the stadium, symbolising the diverse nations that gathered at the stadium and showed that Africa really is a continent populated by diverse and colourful people.

The South African squad that won the tournament in 1996 also made an appearance, much to the delight of fans.

Earlier today Zuma held a welcome luncheon in Sandton for the Heads of State attending the tournament.

He said he trusted that they would be treated to the best soccer spectacle humanly possible.

"We believe that the tournament will contribute immensely in promoting unity and friendship in the continent. The Africans are coming together from all over our beautiful continent to celebrate their Africanness and that is a wonderful occasion for us all," said Zuma.

The President believed the Afcon tournament would live up to the expectation of being a prelude to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. "Africa is yet to win the World Cup, or to exit at a very respectable stage in this tournament and this should be a springboard towards that goal."

The crowd and fans all over Africa are now anxiously awaiting the opening match of the football tournament, between Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde. The match will kick off at 6pm.

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