Zakumi - a Mascot with attitude
© FIFA.com

So what can we say about him? One thing is for sure, Zakumi will be first on the dancefloor and last off it at the biggest party in the world - the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. He wants to dance and entertain as many people as he can. He is an animator for fans, players and officials, for schoolchildren, teenagers and big kids alike!

Needless to say, he is extremely proud to be the Official Mascot and determined to be the best host for everyone visiting his beloved country. He symbolizes South Africa and the rest of the African continent through his self-confidence, pride, hospitality, social skills and warm-heartedness.

Zakumi is a jolly, self-confident, adventurous, spontaneous, and actually quite shrewd little fellow. He loves to perform and always follows his instinct and intuition, yet sometimes has the tendency to exaggerate a bit. You will often find him fooling about and teasing people but not in a mean way. He is warm-hearted and caring, and wants to make as many friends as possible.

He loves to play football as it is a great way to connect with others and break down language barriers. He always carries his football around which he will use to invite people to play with him.

Zakumi loves football. At one time he decided to dye his hair green as he felt it would be the perfect camouflage against the green of the football pitch; a bit like his rosette spots are when hunting in the wilderness!

He does have one striking weakness. With all his energy, he needs frequent rests. Occasionally, in-between performances on stage, he may suddenly fall asleep on the spot at the most random times! But rest assured, these are only short breaks that a leopard of his calibre needs to recharge his batteries.

Over the last years he has travelled the whole of Africa where the leopard habitat is good (pretty much everywhere from open savannahs, forests, jungles to mountainous areas, even deserts). He has therefore learned to adapt to new environments; enjoying the diversity in nature and people across the African continent

The name ‘Zakumi' is a composition of ‘ZA' standing for South Africa and ‘kumi', which translates into ‘10' in various languages across Africa.

Zakumi's main priority is to turn the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa into one huge, joyful and unforgettable party and show the thousands of international guests the warmth and spirit of the African continent.

"He wants to create a good mood for the fans and raise the excitement for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first on African soil. He is a proud South African and wants to ensure that the world will come together in South Africa," explained Lucas Radebe, South Africa's football icon and close friend of Zakumi.