‘Let the Games Begin.’ So said Jacob Zuma, coming over all Roman Emperor on the big screen at FNB Stadium on Saturday. JZ hadn’t dressed himself up in gladiatorial body armour, which is a shame, because he would have fitted right in with all the glitz that drizzled itself over the Nelson Mandela Sports and Cultural Day.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula surely spared no expense for his magical brainchild, the idea of having an international football match, a rugby match, and … wait for it … a concert, on the same day at the same stadium.
As I walked through the media tunnel, decorating the rather industrial interior were a flurry of impossibly good-looking women in tight black dresses. They kindly directed me into the media centre (it was also signposted, but then there can be no price put on a dollop of glamour over a dull, printed plaque), where there were plenty more hot women in tight black dresses. There was also a free bar, with doubles of Johnnie Walker Black readily available to media (and, dare I say the very word, hangers-on) in need of lubrication. If this was what is going on in the media centre, it must have been even more fabulous in the suites.
Upstairs, FNB Stadium was covered in wondrous morning sunshine. The first event of the day was a game between a Bafana Masters XI and an Italy Masters XI. The Italians won at a cruise 2-0, looking in better shape than some of the South Africans, particularly Professor Ngubane, who came off the bench, to the considerable relief of the bench, in the second half.
There followed Bafana Bafana, but not before Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk had been wheeled (not literally, both are still sturdily on foot, I can advise) out. Arts and Culture minister Paul Mashatile had his moment in the sun, followed by ‘Razzmatazz’ Mbalula himself. Then came JZ’s Julius Caesar impersonation.
And still, in between the national anthems of the Bafana team and Burkina Faso and kick off, there were … fireworks!
Bafana comfortably beat a young Burkinabe side that looked a little fresh, shall we say, to the international scene. Then came the Springboks, trampling Argentina into the dirt.
I left before the concert, but I am sure R&B singer Brandy gave an appropriate end to the occasion. She certainly has an appropriate name, given the amount of the stuff that was probably drunk by the time revelers left the stadium.
Before you ask, no, I can’t be a hundred per cent sure what this has to do with the name of the great statesman Nelson Mandela. And yes, you might suggest our taxpayer’s money could be better spent in the sport and culture field than on free booze, hot women and an American R&B singer. But hey, who cares, let’s party!! - The Star