Rustenburg’s message to the world
© LOC

As tens of thousands of spectators made their way to the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace for Bafana Bafana's match on Wednesday against New Zealand, the city of Rustenburg came alive with the sound of what has certainly been a distinctively African FIFA Confederations Cup so far.

The drone of vuvuzelas, the air horns that distinguishes South African football stadiums from any other in the world, competed with hooting and cheering as South African fans slowly made their way toward the stadium through the city, hoping for - and getting - a night of celebration as South Africa beat New Zealand 2-0.

Hours before the match had even started, crowds were gathering outside the stadium as music and dancers entertained the excited crowd.

"I am here to support my country and the vibe around the city is great," said Lebogang Molefe.

For Molefe the tournament is all about showing the world what South Africa is all about.

"We are a nation that likes to sing and we are a happy nation. I hope our visitors see this now and on television and I hope they come back for the 2010 World Cup".

For football fans who travellled to South Africa for the FIFA Confederations Cup, it seems they've received Molefe's message.

"South Africa seems like such a good country. I have been here for six days now watching football and I really love the friendly people here. I must tell you South Africans are the most friendly and hospitable people I have met," said Benito Lenon, who travelled from Madrid in Spain to watch La Furia Roja at the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Although Spain were playing Iraq in Mangaung on the same day, Lenon had decided he would prefer to experience a Bafana Bafana match in Rustenburg, hearing from friends that it is a once in a lifetime experience to celebrate football in South Africa.

And he certainly wasn't disappointed.

Flying in from Canada to experience what African football is all about, Peter Severinac from Ontario, Canada, was blown away by the electric atmosphere inside the Royal Bafokeng stadium.

Surrounded by thousands of celebrating South African fans, all making their way out of the stadium, Severniac could hardly contain his amazement at what he experienced during the game.

"Those trumpets (vuvuzelas) are great, I have never experienced anything like it. Nothing compares to the feeling of being in the stands with all that dancing and noise. They treated me like a member of their family when they found out I was from outside South Africa. I will definitely be back next year for the World Cup and will bring back as many friends as I can. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience," said Severinac before he was swallowed up by the passing crowd.