Late tenor's music will be used at World Cup ceremony

Siphiwo Ntshebe Siphiwo Ntshebe's single and album will still be released

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The music of the late opera singer Siphiwo Ntshebe will still be used at the opening ceremony of the World Cup, organisers have announced.

The South African star, 34, who died of meningitis last month, was personally chosen by Nelson Mandela to perform.

Organisers said his music will be used as "a tribute both to his music and memory and to the indomitable spirit of South Africa".

His song - Hope - will also be released as a single.

In a statement Mr Mandela said: "Very rarely does life put across your path a meritorious person with such outstanding singing ability. Such was the person of Siphiwo Desmond Ntshebe.

"It is some comfort, given the tragedy of Siphiwo's early death, that as the world's spotlight falls on South Africa millions of people across the globe will have the chance to hear and be uplifted by Siphiwo's wonderful music.

"It is, of course, the greatest sadness that he will not be here to sing it but we can all be thankful that he completed recording his inspirational album before his death."

Mr Mandela and Ntshebe's family have also agreed to Epic Records releasing am album - also called Hope - which the singer completed just before he died.

The single features a message of hope, which was written and spoken by Mr Mandela himself.

It is hoped the song will become synonymous with this year's World Cup - much as Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma was with the competition in Italy in 1990.

Lebo M, executive composer and producer of the World Cup opening ceremony, said: "Siphiwo is a true South Africa World Cup legacy, gone too soon.

"It is proper that his spirit should lead us in the ceremonies of June 11 and that his spirit of hope and compassion should guide us all."

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