As South Africa celebrates youth day today, a rather special local teenager enjoys his 15th birthday. Zakumi, the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ mascot, will be blowing out birthday candles and enjoying some football with his friends, as he celebrates a day dedicated to young people across South Africa.

"He was born 15 years ago at a time when our nation had just entered into a democracy in 1994 and it is significant that he shares this day with the youth of South Africa. It is them, after all, that will benefit the most from the World Cup legacy," said LOC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Danny Jordaan, who went on to wish the little leopard a happy birthday. 

Zakumi has been racing around the country over the past couple of days, enjoying the incredible FIFA Confederations Cup matches that have taken place in various football-crazy corners of South Africa. Never one to miss a big football match, Zakumi has raced from Johannesburg, to Rustenburg, Bloemfontein and Pretoria in his quest to make sure everyone is enjoying the FIFA Confederations Cup. But even energy-fuelled cats get tired, and the speedy mascot is sure to spend some of his birthday enjoying his second-most favourite activity; cat-naps.

After a day of playing football in the long grass, eating chocolate cake and spending time with his family, Zakumi will once again answer the irresistible call of the fans and whiz off to Bloemfontein on 17 June to watch Spain play Iraq before running at lightning speed to Rustenburg to watch South Africa play New Zealand.

The spotted soccer fan will be celebrating his sweet sixteen next year at the world's biggest party - the 2010 FIFA World Cup.