181206. Judith Sephuma performs at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town on Friday 15-12-2006 for CellC Sound of the City 2006. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Artists from all over the continent, including Mali and Kenya, will be entertaining the expected television audience of 1 billion at the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The South African artists performing are the legendary Ringo Madlingozi, who is loved throughout the continent, for his Afro acoustic pop love songs, while Judith Sephuma is set to wow the audience with her strong jazz vocals.

Other South Africans include Siphokazi who’s powerful Afro pop and gospel hits have made her a firm favourite with audiences.

The line-up is completed by South African poet Afu Rakan and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.

The entire show is put together by the VWV Group, which was also responsible for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup. There is a cast of more than 520 dancers, singers, stilt walkers and gymnasts.

The theme is Celebrate Africa – The Beat At Africa’s Feet.

“Creatively, we wanted to present a showcase that lived out the theme,” said VWV’s opening-ceremony project director, Jameson Hlongwane.

This will include women pounding traditional mortar and pestle to giant drums powered by acrobats.

Hlongwane said viewers should expect a dazzling display of colours, sounds and rhythms.

Gates to the event, which precedes the first game of Afcon, will open at 2pm.