Performers are seen during a dress rehearsal at the National stadium preparing for the opening of the Afcon today( Saturday). Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Johannesburg - Fans heading to the National Stadium for the Cup of Nations opening ceremony are in for an African treat.

 Grammy award-winning singer Oumou Sangare of Mali is one of several artists who will take to the stage. Others include South African vocalists Judith Sephuma, Siphokazi, Ayanda Nhlangothi, Kenya’s Eric Wainana and legendary South African artists Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Sibongile Khumalo and Ringo Madlingozi.

In addition close to 900 cast members will participate. More than 1 000 costumes have been produced for the event.

Local Organising Committee (LOC) chief executive Mvuzo Mbebe promised Joburgers and the rest of the world that the opening ceremony will be “an African celebration”.

“You are going to see all four corners of Africa converge at the opening ceremony,” Mbebe said.

The opening ceremony, themed “Celebrate Africa – The Beat at Africa’s Feet!” begins at 4pm.

“Producing an opening ceremony for Africa’s largest soccer spectacular is nothing short of a thrill,” said Hlubi Kwebulana, VWV event producer.

It took at least 300 hours of practice for the performers and choreographers to fine-tune every detail of the grand opening.

Madlingozi said he was extremely excited about performing at Africa’s biggest soccer spectacle.

“I’m a real soccer enthusiast, so being part of the opening ceremony is a huge honour,” he said.

“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.”

Saturday Star