Featuring some of Africa’s most gifted artists, the opening ceremony, themed 'Celebrate Africa – The Beat at Africa’s Feet!' commences at 16:00 on Saturday, 19 January. The event will feature a host of African talent.
The nine artists contracted to perform are The Songbird of Wassoulou Grammy Award winner, Oumou Sangare of Mali; South African vocalists Judith Sephuma, Lira, Siphokazi and Ayanda Nhlangothi; Kenya’s artist-activist Eric Wainana; South African Afurukan – a spoken word artist; and South Africa’s very own musical treasures - Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, and crooner, Ringo Madlingozi.
“Producing an opening ceremony for Africa’s largest soccer spectacular is nothing short of a thrill,” enthuses Hlubi Kwebulana, VWV event producer. “And working with artists of this calibre is definitely a highlight. The commitment, focus and creativity each artist brought to the project, and the way they bought into our vision of the Opening Ceremony – they’ve been a complete joy to work with! They’re definitely going to blow everyone away.”
Representing different parts of the African continent that ultimately come together in a show of African pride and unity, the artists are certainly excited about their participation.
“My music and artistry represents Africa – everything I do musically is a reflection of my roots, and my reality as an African. That’s why I’m so proud to be a part of this ceremony – the creative concept affirms my pride in being an African,” comments Sangare “I’ve played on stages worldwide, and it feels so good to be part of an African celebration, performing in front of a huge African audience – it’s going to be an unforgettable day.”
Afurakan is excited about the spoken-word flavor he’ll be bringing to the performance. “A performance like this is a dream project,” he enthuses. “A gathering of Africans, the best of our soccer talent, an incredible roster of African artists, and a mind-blowing show – as the only spoken-word artist who’s a part of this collective of artists, it’s a real honour to be involved.”
Ringo’s excitement about performing right before the tournament’s kick-off is palpable. “Like any self-respecting African, I’m a real soccer enthusiast, so being part of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 Opening Ceremony is a huge honour,” he exclaims. “The creative treatment on this ceremony is fantastic, a beautiful representation of our continent’s many faces. I can’t wait for everyone to finally watch everything we’ve been working so hard on – they’ll be amazed.”
Award-winning artist Lira, says, “The year has only started, and already I’m having such an incredible time. This is my favourite kind of celebration, collaborating with an A-list roster of artists from around the continent, and being a part of Africa’s most prestigious soccer tournament. Watch out everyone – Saturday, 19th of Jan is going to rock.”
Wainana, comments, “The ceremony is definitely going to be Africa’s party of the year. All eyes are going to be on the National Stadium, and it feels great to be part of this spectacle. Being part of a production of this magnitude is an artists’ dream – and when it happens in front of a huge African audience, it’s priceless. Afcon represents a great opportunity for Africans to unite in their love for the beautiful game, as the ceremony will demonstrate. I can’t wait to everyone to see it.”
No less excited is vocalist Ayanda Nhlangothi. “I love working on large productions that tell a great story – and this one’s right up there with them,” she says. “Being able to collaborate with artists I have so much respect for, in telling a quintessentially African story – it’s been an amazing experience”
One of South Africa’s most beloved sons, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse will also be part of the celebrations. “Africa celebrates’ it’s own – proud and victorious,” he muses. "I am – we are – One in the name of this glorious, beautiful game – it’s bound to be explosive, I can hardly wait.”
Vocalist Siphokazi is equally thrilled to be participating. “Since my career began, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to different countries on our beautiful continent, sharing the sounds of South Africa with them – I can’t wait to play host to my fellow African artists here, as part of a show that’s all about African pride and unity.”
Sephuma comments; “This is the best way to start the new year! The audience is going to love what the team’s put together for them in the Opening Ceremony – a true African story! Definitely one for the books.”
A fitting kick-off to the highly anticipated tournament, the ceremony’s been mindful to include a mix of both established and emerging talent to form part of the celebration.
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