2010 Fifa World Cup: the experience

Everyone who visited South Africa for the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ was bowled over by the warmth of the welcome they received, the quality of the country’s facilities, the richness of its attractions – and the sheer energy running through Africa’s first Fifa World Cup. Here are just some of the stories we ran:

A World Cup to remember

A World Cup to remember

The 2010 Fifa World Cup concluded in fine style on Sunday, with the Spanish national side raising the coveted trophy as champions for the first time. As the curtain fell on the historic event, fans reflected on what made the tournament so special for them.

Mandela magic at Soccer City

Mandela magic at Soccer City

Mandela magic was broadcast around the world as over half a billion people watched South Africa’s former president, Nelson Mandela, make his way onto the pitch of Johannesburg’s Soccer City moments after the closing ceremony of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

South Africa’s closing ceremony dazzles

South Africa's closing ceremony dazzles

A sell-out crowd inside Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium as well as an audience of hundreds of millions across the globe were wowed by a colourful ceremony on Sunday night to celebrate the successful conclusion of a memorable first Fifa World Cup on African soil.

People power reigns at Fan Fests

People power reigns at Fan Fests

Darkness fell hours ago, and the crowd’s breath rises visibly through the winter air at Johannesburg’s InnesFree Park. Yet Chuma is drenched in sweat. And no wonder. For the past two-and-a-half hours, the 27-year-old has been leading friends and strangers, locals and tourists in an indefatigable display of singing and dancing at this lively Fifa Fan Fest.

Video: ‘It’s been life-changing’

Video: 'It's been life-changing'

Being in South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup has been “nothing but life-changing”, says Blaise Hossain from Los Angeles, California, citing the “genuine warm, inviting and rich culture that every South African embodies in very different ways.”

Walking Cape Town’s Fan Mile

Walking Cape Town's Fan Mile

Cape Town’s three-kilometre Fan Mile from the city centre to the majestic Green Point Stadium has become a hit with international fans, offering a fusion of cultures, a melting pot of different nationalities, and a place for supporters to congregate en route to the stadium.

Dutch explore their African heritage

Dutch explore their SA heritage

The Western Cape, and Cape Town in particular, have been inextricably linked with Holland since 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck landed in the Cape of Good Hope. Last week, the Cape experienced its second Dutch invasion, as fans of “Die Oranje” took the opportunity to explore their historical connection to South Africa.

Durban a hit with World Cup fans

Durban a hit with World Cup fans

South Africa’s “Surf City” was the place to be on Friday as fans streamed in by the thousands for one of the most anticipated matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup group stages, Brazil versus Portugal. While the match itself did not live up to the hype, the city of Durban certainly did.

The world comes to Nelson Mandela Bay

The world comes to Nelson Mandela Bay

Despite its famous namesake Nelson Mandela Bay, comprising Port Elizabeth and its surrounding areas, often misses out on international events, which tend to go the way of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. But that is all changing as a result of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Portuguese wow young fans

Portuguese wow young fans

After three disappointing draws, Cape Town got the wake-up call it had been waiting for on Monday as Portugal thrilled a 63 644-strong Green Point Stadium crowd with a seven-goal sizzler. For seven-year-old Tanzeel Gamieldien, however, the highlight of the match came before kick-off.

World Cup ‘bringing people together’

World Cup 'bringing people together'

Black people, white people, rich people, poor people, locals, foreigners – at places like Lucky’s Bar in Phokeng township outside Rustenburg, South Africa’s unique Fifa World Cup is bringing people from all walks of life together.

Mexico sets Polokwane alight

Mexico sets Polokwane alight

Mexico and France met at the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane on Friday in a night that rocked the World Cup host city. For the local spectators, it was a match that made them realise that the World Cup party had well and truly arrived in Polokwane.

Durban captivates Dutch supporters

Durban captivates Dutch supporters

Their outfits were bright, mesmerising and went perfectly with their sunny disposition … the Dutch fans invaded Durban on the weekend, both to support their team in a 2010 Fifa World Cup match and to soak up the the wonderful weather and atmosphere that the city has to offer.

African welcome wins players’ hearts

African welcome wins players' hearts

Whatever their fortunes on the pitch, players from the competing nations at the 2010 Fifa World Cup are enjoying the experience off it. The temperatures might be low, but the visiting teams are feeling the warmth of the African spirit.

Serbian fan uses World Cup to propose

Serbian fan uses World Cup to propose

Serbian fans were thrilled by their team’s 1-0 victory over Germany on Friday. There was love in the air: for the national team, for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – and, for one supporter, love for someone back home.

Mbombela Stadium: wild by design

Mbombela Stadium: wild by design

It may have been freezing elsewhere in the country, but when Honduras and Chile met each other head-on at Nelspruit’s World Cup opener on Wednesday, it was in glorious sunshine – and in the World Cup’s quirkiest stadium.

Cup visitors enchanted by South Africa

Cup visitors enchanted by South Africa

The world’s attention is focused on the southern tip of Africa as the greatest football showpiece plays itself out on the fields and in the streets of South Africa. But once the final whistle has blown on 11 July, it seems as though a lot of happy fans will be coming back to the country.

A Rainbow World Cup journey

A Rainbow World Cup journey

Maxwell Valenkamp, a Dutch national whose mother is Ghanaian, takes the train from Johannesburg to Pretoria to watch Ghana play Serbia, explaining along the way what Africa’s first Fifa World Cup means to him, and why you could call it the ‘Rainbow World Cup’.

Orange Army get the party started

Orange Army get the party started

Dutch fans are renowned for their flair off the pitch – wigs, clogs, dungarees, face-paint and flags all play a part in their arsenal. Clad from head to toe in bright orange, the Netherlands supporters ensured that Johannesburg’s Soccer City was even more orange than usual during their match against Denmark on Monday afternoon.

Port Elizabeth does Mandela proud

Port Elizabeth does Mandela proud

The friendly city of Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth gave thousands of football fans – as well as Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan – an exuberant welcome as the first World Cup match kicked off at its new stadium on Saturday.

Fans paint Rustenburg red, white, blue

Fans paint Rustenburg red, white, blue

It was all systems go in Rustenburg on Saturday night as football’s version of the American Revolution played out in front of nearly 48 000 fans at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

World Cup Fan Fests come alive

World Cup Fan Fests come alive

It was not just the 84 490 fans seated in Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium that celebrated the start of Africa’s historic World Cup. Aside from the estimated 500-million global television viewers, more than 400 000 fans celebrated at the 16 official Fan Fests and other public viewing areas both in South Africa and abroad.

World Cup off to colourful start

World Cup off to colourful start

More than 84 000 people witnessed the dawn of a new chapter in South Africa’s history when the 2010 Fifa World Cup kicked off in true African style at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium.

Soccer City welcomes the world home

Soccer City welcomes the world home

As Johannesburg’s flagship Soccer City stadium seethed in a mass of yellow and brightly coloured flags, the hum of tens of thousands of vuvuzelas was suddenly overcome as Gripen Fighter jets burst overhead. Africa’s first Fifa World Cup was opening in spectacular fashion.