Party like it's 2010
The World Cup hasn't even started and the party has begun here in Johannesburg.
While England manager Fabio Capello was snapping at the snappers in Rustenburg, there was an explosion of a different kind in the business district of Sandton, where tens of thousands of South African fans spilled onto the streets in a joyous celebration of their team, Bafana Bafana.
Their Brazilian manager, Carlos Parreira, was not too happy at the distractions of an open top bus parade two days before his team takes on Mexico in the opening match at Johannesburg's Soccer City. And most teams wait until they have won something before going on a victory procession.
Thousands of South Africans take to the streets of Sandton in Johannesburg - photo: AFP
But in one sense South Africa has already got reason to celebrate. They have had to bear years of negative international criticism and doubts over their ability to stage an event of this magnitude.
Things may still go wrong. Certainly Wednesday's mass crowds demonstrate the potential for chaos is never far away. However, even the country's harshest critics must now accept that they are ready.
In a message to Fifa's 60th congress, read by the South African president Jacob Zuma, Nelson Mandela spoke of football's unique ability to bring people together.
Football is a sport followed predominantly by black people in this country but on Wednesday I witnessed fans of all colours dancing and singing together in what is seen as the Rainbow Nation's most unifying event since the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
In more than 12 years of covering sport around the world, I cannot remember scenes like this before an event has even started.
Only the experience of young South Koreans celebrating their team's extraordinary march to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002 comes close. But that was somehow choreographed.
This was completely spontaneous and one can only wonder what might happen should Bafana Bafana defy the odds and beat Mexico on Friday.