"This stadium is one of the greatest things that has ever happened in the entire Eastern Cape," says Pellado Grootbom, a resident of Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth about the newly completed World Cup stadium. "This stadium belongs to us and we are all excited about it. It really is a world class stadium."
From Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Province to Cape Town, Durban, Polokwane, Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Mangaung/Bloemfontein, Tshwane/Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africans are in awe of the magnificent stadiums that will host the 32 teams and the thousands of fans for the World Cup. For them, these stadiums - in varying degrees of completion - are a symbol of South Africa's potential and bears a vivid testimony to the magnitude of the World Cup next year.
Referring to Johannesburg's own stadium, the prized Soccer City, Andile Manzini of Soweto speaks of his excitement to have the stadium so close to where he lives: "It's very nice to be a Sowetan because now we have a stadium in the township." Soccer City will host both the opening and closing match and with a capacity of 91,000, any team playing in this stadium will be given a warm - and loud - South African welcome.
In the northern province of Limpopo, famous for its national game parks and magnificent vistas, the near-complete Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane has made quite an impression. "The stadium is the best structure I have ever seen in Limpopo. I have never seen anything like it and it feels so good to be nearing completion. Everyone here thinks it is very beautiful and I have never heard anyone complaining about anything to do with the stadium. The view is simply beautiful and I am proud to be part of this development in our area," stated local resident Hlulani Rikhotso.
For others, like Capetonian Duncan Buwalda, the stadium progress at Green Point stadium in Cape Town has been a-kin to watching a child grow up. "I moved here in 2007, so I have watched the stadium being built and it has been incredible. To watch a world class stadium grow from practically nothing to something spectacular like that, it makes me very proud."
Kumi Naidoo from the coastal city of Durban shares Buwalda's feeling of pride for the Moses Mabhida stadium. With its iconic arch dominating the city skyline, the stadium is finding its way into the hearts of Durban's citizens.
"I feel a great sense of pride when I look at the stadium. I can't wait to get into the stadium and have a look, and I'm very impressed at the fast rate at which the stadium has developed," says Naidoo.
But it is the iconic Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit that promises to wow visitors to South Africa. Mirroring the surrounding landscape and wildlife, Mbombela stadium is a truly African stadium, with steel giraffes rising up from the stadium and seating mimicking the stripes of a zebra.
Says Nelspruit inhabitant Sicelo Sthai Vilakati: "We have never seen anything like it before and even the municipality here is trying its best to create awareness of the stadium. The stadium has warmed people's hearts and even though Bafana are not doing well, we still wear our Bafana jerseys with pride. It is uniting people."