It was a party to rival New Year’s Eve in Cape Town and just like 1 January, the Long Street party to celebrate the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is just beginning.
With the African sun high in a perfect blue sky and Table Mountain watching on approvingly, crowds gathered in the early afternoon of 4 December 2009.
Cape Town was showing off.
It was a magnificent day and South Africa got its first real taste of what hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup is all about. Sun kissed fans in summer dress were greeted by a kaleidoscope of flags covering every available inch of the building facades facing the road.
A handful of top local artists drove the crowd to fever pitch long before the five massive big screens lining the street crossed live to hear the results of the Final Draw at 19h00.
Miss Universe contestants swayed below the towering stage, rubbing shoulders with Cape Town locals to the live music.
"I’ve never felt so proud to be South African,” Miss South Africa Tatum Keshwar enthused, looking down the street at a sea of screaming fans. “The future for South Africa is so bright it burns my eyes!”
Cape Town local Simthembile Nkovu was one of the fans who’d endured the unrelenting sun since early afternoon to secure a spot at the front. He was there to hear South African group TKZee.
As he hugged his vuvuzela and sipped slowly on bottled water, waiting for the band to start, he was optimistic for the coming draw. “It might be tough, but the cup will remain here in South Africa after the FIFA World Cup next year.”
After an energetic set that had the crowd singing and jumping along TKZee’s frontman, Kabelo Mabalane was pumped.
As he dragged himself from the stage he too felt the surge of pride. “I’m just so proud to be South African at the moment,” he exclaimed. “It’s great to play to a home crowd advantage. We know Bafana Bafana heard us wherever they are and hopefully it spurred them on too.”
As performers made way for the live cross to the draw at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, some of the crowd spun out into the bars and cafes lining the street to get a closer look. Others remained transfixed in the glow of the big-screens staggered up and down Long Street.
The city's bars certainly came to the party, many adopting international football teams, using the Long Street party to recruit potential revellers for 2010.
Dutch expatriate Marcus Zandhuis commandeered popular Long Street night club Fiction. Partygoers in orange t-shirts lined the balcony and spilled into the buzzing street below.
“We organised this as a Germany versus Holland party,” he confided, “With fans from both countries celebrating here in Cape Town. But the winner here was always going to be South Africa.”
And then it was done. Every team was drawn against their opponents and Long Street could get back to the party. German Knut Muller, from Dortmund, a volunteer in a children’s home in one of Cape Town’s townships Khayelitsha, was amazed.
All around him groups of locals sang and jumped, blasting their vuvuzelas with excitment. “If this is what’s happening in South Africa at only the Final Draw, I can’t imagine what the World Cup is going to be like,” he said.