Mandela Sports Day: ‘celebrate unity’

16 August 2013

More than 50 000 tickets for the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day, taking place at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium on Saturday, have been sold already.

South Africans who will be attending the event will have the pleasure of watching both the national rugby and football teams playing against international teams on the same day at the same venue.

Bafana Bafana will take on Burkina Faso, while the Springboks will play Argentina. The matches will be preceded by a match between South Africa’s and Italy’s soccer legends, and followed by a music concert featuring top local and international artists.

‘An opportunity to unite’

Addressing the media at the venue on Thursday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula called on South Africans to come in large numbers to attend the event, which is being held as part of the celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday.

“It is a moment we must cherish as a nation. Think about what former president Nelson Mandela has done for the country. Rugby and football gives us as a nation an opportunity to unite,” Mbalula said.

Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola echoed Mbalula’s call, saying Bafana Bafana and the Springboks would “have all 50-million of us behind them in their pursuit of victory on the sports field.

“Sport is a great unifier of people and of nations. We must use the opportunity of the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day to celebrate our oneness as a nation while flying the flag for our country,” Matola said in a statement on Thursday.

“This will also be a fitting testament to the icon in whose name we play this challenge. One of the Tata Mandela’s enduring legacies is his unwavering patriotism and commitment to a South Africa that is a winning nation. This must inspire each of us as citizens of this great nation.”

Transport, parking, tickets, security

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa CEO Lucky Montana announced on Thursday that fans who will be attending the event will be transported free if they produce their tickets.

According to Montana, provision has been made to transport more than 40 000 passengers.

To ensure safety and smooth operation of the event, strict traffic control and security measures will be in place in and around the stadium from 6am to 11pm. Members of the public will not be allowed to park at the stadium without pre-paid Computicket parking tickets.

Parking is limited, and people are encouraged to arrive early as well as use a single vehicle. Gates will be opened as early as 7am, and unreserved pre-paid public parking tickets at a cost of R20 per vehicle are available from Computicket.

Patrick Ronan, risk adviser for the event, said all security measures were in place. He said 600 police officers and 1 200 private security personnel would be deployed in and around the stadium.

He urged people to purchase tickets at Computicket as there would be no tickets sold at the venue.

The football match between the South Africa Masters and Italy Masters will take place at 10:30am, the match between Bafana Bafana and Burkina Faso will take place at 1:30pm, while the rugby match between the Springboks and Argentina will take place at 5pm. The music concert will kick off at 7pm.

Artists who will be performing at the event include David Jenkins, the Mahotella Queens, Umoja, Gcina Mhlophe, DJ Alessandro, Wouter Kellerman, Naima Mclean, Elvis Blue and 1st Project.

The proceeds will go towards building the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

SAnews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfo