South Africa's World Cup battle cry

By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News, Johannesburg


South Africa has erupted into football frenzy on the last "football Friday" - the day when everyone has been encouraged to wear the green and gold colours of the national team in the countdown to Africa's first World Cup.

With a week to go till kick-off, Johannesburg's city centre ground to a halt as hundreds of people celebrated at a street party in honour of Bafana Bafana (The Boys).

South African flags could be seen for miles, adding a splash of colour to Johannesburg's streets, while vuvuzelas and car hooters testified to the excitement of the day.

Speaking to the crowds, African National Congress stalwart Winnie Mandela - the former wife of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela - said all South Africa should rally behind the team as they prepared for "battle".

"We are here to say to our boys, you are our hope," she said.

"Tata Madiba says whatever happens - keep this cup in Africa," she said passing on a message from her ex-husband.

"This is what we fought for; we have made it so far.

"Lets us give our boys the last farewell to the battleground to say we have all the confidence in them."


Loud cheers greeted her battle cry as many see the World Cup tournament as a chance to showcase the country and its people to the world.

"I am so excited; this is the first time that this will be happening in South Africa. I am really feeling that the World Cup is here," said Mogadi Motopi, preparing to blow her vuvuzela.

Standing next to her, Lester Lynch added that the world was in for a pleasant surprise.

"I'm proud of South Africa for what they have done, where are all the critics now who were worried that we couldn't do this?" he said.

"Our time has come, viva South Africa viva!"

On the other side of town, Sowetans enjoyed a treat of another kind - the World Cup trophy was in town.

The trophy was to taken the township's Dlamini Park where many queued for hours, eager to have their pictures taken with the golden orb.

Many could be heard cheering: "Thank you Mandela, viva."

And to the relief of many South Africans, Bafana Bafana have upped their game in recent weeks.

Their last win 5-0 victory against Guatemala on Monday seems to have boosted not only the team's moral but the country's.

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