Opening ceremony paints a bright picture
The crowd cheers in excitement as a seemingly never ending mass of energetic young South Africans walk onto the field of Ellis Park stadium to the thunderous sound of an African drum overture. They break into dance and the crowd goes wild. A voice echoes through the stands and into the sky above the stadium, welcoming the world to South Africa - ‘Absheni!', ‘Sanibonani!', ‘Hello!'
From a typical African kraal (hut) a small group of youngsters emerge and begin to play the people's game as the circle of children cheer with impassioned joy. A cry of ‘Laduma' is heard before an invisible pattern of pots explodes into a colourful mirage of smoke in the shape of Africa and the musical score reaches thrilling heights of ecstasy.
Bodies move across the stage in colourful costumes representing the people of Africa from the East, West, the North and the South. They dance with delight, ecstatic to share the beauty of African culture with the world. South African musicians take to the stage giving voice to the stories of a continent.
A wave of children in white shirts moves to the central space performing a youthful dance. They eventually move to configure the words ‘Ke Nako' as a song of the same title plays in the background.
Almost sporadically another group of children in white move to pick up pots of paint and in an instant their plain t-shirts have been transformed into a myriad of colour that and magically becomes the South African flag.
A white silk sheet is draped over the children while they paint the fabric overhead. A camera beneath the sheet shows the children laughing as they paint their way, and soon the FIFA Confederations Cup emblem has been coloured into view. Flag bearers walk onto the stadium and the central tournament logo is surrounded by the flags of the eight participating nations.
The audience gives a deeply appreciative applause with screams, cheers, whistles and a cacophony of thunderous vuvuzelas. Flags are waved vigorously throughout the stadium, South African hearts swell with pride and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup has officially begun.
The show was an exciting spectacle, bursting with youthful exuberance, colour and cultural flair. The ceremony brought the tournament's official slogan "Ke Nako" [It's time] to life.
Six hundred and ninety six children from schools in Gauteng participated in the event. The performers were supported by a rousing musical score featuring live performances from world renowned artists Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Hugh Masekela, Bhekumuzi Luthuli, Siphokazi and penny-whistling brothers, Kwela Tebza.
The production team behind the Africa-themed show was led by the VWV Consortium which is made up of experiential marketers VWV Group and Lebo M's Till Dawn Entertainment. Lebo M is the award winning co-producer of the Lion King Musical.
UK-based marketers, Jack Morton Worldwide, acted as associate producers. The company produced the Athens 2004 ceremonies and served as consultants for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games ceremonies.