By Novell Zwangendaba
Johannesburg – FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup frenzy is in the air! And already Gauteng is getting the party started. The province that’s setting an unprecedented historical first – hosting 19 of the 32 international teams also has the rocking events calendar to provide the festivities for the fans rooting for each participating nation.
Remembering the spirit, feeling of national pride and excitement filling local hearts when FIFA announced South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 games; South Africans can relate to the similar emotions of the 2014 hosts of the international football bonanza, Brazil. They are in our country in full swing, to support their national side and experience the first African World Cup.
Over and above playing host to almost a third of all the national football teams who have qualified for the tournament, Gauteng has also scored an international goal with the exclusive performance of Brazilian Samba sensation Mart’nália. The sultry singer has cut her tour in China short to seduce Gauteng soccer fans on Saturday the 12th June at the Newtown Public Viewing Area in Mary Fitzgerald Square.
The heart of the restored and upgraded down town Johannesburg will witness the sexy beat of the sensual Samba from the next host nation. Mart’nália is one of the most exciting artists in Rio de Janeiro, carrying on the legacy founded by her father Martinho da Vila, the Brazillian Samba musician who was politically active and a prominent figure and spokesperson for Afro-Brazilian issues.
His great Samba tradition certainly lives on in Mart’nália. Bursting onto the Samba scene with her first album in 2002, she has created an infectious family vibe with her live performances by inviting musicians to join her on stage for live remixes of her songs and singing duets.
Through a partnership between the Gauteng Gateway 2010 Project and the Brazilian Embassy, this talented singer will display her unique Samba brand when she performs on June 12th at the Newtown Fan Park, just a day after the official kick off of the games, with the match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico.
Other international artists also taking to the stage at the Public Viewing Area in Newtown, open from June 11th to July 11th are:
Olodum: the Afro Brazillian group widely credited with developing the music style known as samba reggae who offers cultural activities to the youth largely centered around music. The group performed with Michael Jackson on the human rights awareness song “They Don’t Care about Us!”
United Band from Ghana brings home the Ghanaian mix of vibrant ethnic groups and the countries’ cosmopolitan cultures
Mingas from Mozambique, who garnered acclaim for her work both as a solo artist and for her collaborations with icons such as Miriam Makeba and Jimmy Dludlu.
Olufemi, one of the finest saxophonist ready to make Africa proud by combining West African flavour with Southern African flavour. The result: his own, undeniably unique style which he calls Afro-South West Fusion.
Nigeria’s acclaimed guitarist, Kunle Ayo, who has shared the stage with great Gauteng based musicians Jonas Gwangwa, Don Laka and MXO.
South African musicians expected to live up to the top bill include popular Afro pop singer Ntando, hit makers Malaika, Diski dancers, Vuvuzela choir, the acclaimed Gauteng Orchestra and many more.
To hype up the atmosphere and make sure everyone in the country can experience this once in life time event, the province has set up various public viewing areas alongside the official fan parks. This affords those who could not get tickets for the games ample opportunities to still enjoy the intoxicating atmosphere of the soccer field with the added treat of special entertainment not offered at the stadiums.
Entrance to the Newtown Public Viewing Area in the Mary Fitzgerald Square is free, with the option of using the hospitality package for R1000 per person per day. The fan park is open from midday to midnight with free entertainment and 3 large televisions to watch all the 2010 FIFA World Cup games.
Mart’nália plays guitar, tambourine, and sings. She has recorded a live DVD titled, Mart’nália in Africa, launched in Shanghai earlier this year. Her most recent recording, “Madrugada,” was released in 2008 on the Biscoito Fino.