With only 5 days to go to the biggest event ever held on African Soil, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa has been billed as the greatest entertainment show to date in Africa.
The inaugural FIFA World Cup™ Kick-Off Celebration Concert will bring together artists from Africa, Latin America, Europe and the USA all in one stage – The Orlando Stadium in Soweto/Johannesburg on June 10th evening.
Alicia Keys, Amadou & Mariam, Angélique Kidjo, Black Eyed Peas, BLK JKS(Black Jacks), John Legend, Juanes, Shakira, The Parlotones, Tinariwen, Vieux Farka Touré and Vusi Mahlasela will all be in South Africa to set off a month full of a battle that can almost be likened to the World War – a clash of nations on a pitch.
This historic music event will take place in front of a capacity stadium audience of an estimated 30,000 people. It will be broadcast to hundreds of millions more worldwide. It is scheduled to begin at 20.00 local time (GMT+2). That will be 7pm Kenyan Time.
Like many Kenyans who will not make it down South, I will be among the many millions watching it live.
Emmy Award-winning producer Kevin Wall and his company Control Room was selected by FIFA has to organise and produce the concert. Control Room has masterminded some of the world’s biggest and most complex events, such as Live Earth 2007, which featured 150 artists performing on seven continents over the course of 24 hours to raise awareness of climate change.
“We believe sports and music transcend cultural, language and geographic barriers, and through the official FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert, we will present the sights and sounds of unity and celebration for an unforgettable, must-see experience,” said Wall.
Award-winning jazz musician Hugh Masekela, Afro-pop sensation Freshlyground, Mzansi Youth Choir, Soweto Gospel Choir and African hip hop artist K’NAAN were later included after local musicians complained that there were not enough African and South African artist for the June 10 concert in Soweto.
“As South Africans we are proud to be hosting the first ever World Cup on African soil,” said Hugh Masekela in a statement.
“I am very humbled and flattered to be part of this global event and am looking forward to the concert with great interest and excitement,” he said.
Musically, South Africa has produced some of the best artists to come from Africa with the likes of Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Jonathan Butler, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Soweto Gospel Choir, Rebecca Malope just to mention a few. The inaugural concert might turn out to be the flame that will spark alot of musical shows and concerts to run throughout the period of the World Cup in different parts of South Africa. With the huge number of visitors patronizing their night spots for some taste of South Africa, I can bet that the South Africans will showcase their best in music, dance and Culture.
Curiously, no Kenyan artist got a chance to represent us in this historic event.