The Opening Ceremony

11 Jan

The 2010 Africa Cup of Nations is up and running after the pomp and pageantry that is the opening ceremony. The 50,000-strong crowd that amassed to witness the ceremony at Luanda’s 11th of November Stadium, were in great voice as the carnival procession got the tournament off to a stentorian start.

Awash with traditional dance, with a hint of the country’s religious background and agricultural offerings, we were treated to a fantastic festival affair. The ceremony was festooned with colour and punctuated with acrobatics, vivid imagery and mesmerising performances all round, that showed that Angola has more to offer than just oil and diamonds. For me, however, the highlight came not from the climatic volley of fireworks, but from scenes depicting civil war leading into a montage documenting liberation and peace. It is obvious that Angola is well aware of its past and accepts it as part of its history that has allowed the country to move ever forward. A lot of time and money were spent not only on preparing the country for the tournament, but also on this ceremony, and the organisers have definitely thrown down the gauntlet for South Africa and the World Cup.

As a mark of just how important  the tournament is to Africa, presidents including, Jose Eduardo dos Santos (host Angola), Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Rupia Banda (Zambia) and Joseph Kabila Kabange (Democratic Republic of the Congo) all attended the ceremony as well as the opening game that followed.

The stadium- having only been inaugurated 2 weeks ago and used so far only for 2 friendly matches and 2 dress rehearsals- is set to see a lot of action in the coming weeks after a ceremony fit for a king.


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