… Just look at that headline… It is truly a historic event.

Nelson Mandela with the World Cup

I know that the rugby World Cup was there first, but that only attracted about a quarter of the world’s interest compared to this. Football is a global game and South Africa is hosting it. I really can’t wait.

Yes I know all we’ll hear or remember is those vuvuzelas, but keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see some great football and the noise of the fans celebrating a goal will drown out that racket.

There will be a pre-World Cup concert (the first one of it’s kind) on Thursday 10th from !8:00 BST onwards. But what I am looking forward to is the World Cup opening ceremony just before the South Africa v Mexico match kicks on on the 11th. Looking forward because there is a chance that Mr Mandela himself could make a brief appearance. Because of his advanced age (he will be 92 next month) and because it is winter in South Africa his attendance will be a brief one.

This good news is slightly tempered because there was due to be another attendee who be missed…

The South African born tenor Siphiwo Ntshebe was especially chosen by Nelson Mandela to sing at the opening ceremony, but sadly he died on 25th May of meningitis. He was only 34.

Siphiwo Ntshebe

His music lives on though and it will still be featured. This from the Beeb:

Late tenor’s music will be used at World Cup ceremony

The music of the late opera singer Siphiwo Ntshebe will still be used at the opening ceremony of the World Cup, organisers have announced.

The South African star, 34, who died of meningitis last month, was personally chosen by Nelson Mandela to perform.

Organisers said his music will be used as “a tribute both to his music and memory and to the indomitable spirit of South Africa”.

His song – Hope – will also be released as a single.

In a statement Mr Mandela said: “Very rarely does life put across your path a meritorious person with such outstanding singing ability. Such was the person of Siphiwo Desmond Ntshebe.

“It is some comfort, given the tragedy of Siphiwo’s early death, that as the world’s spotlight falls on South Africa millions of people across the globe will have the chance to hear and be uplifted by Siphiwo’s wonderful music.

“It is, of course, the greatest sadness that he will not be here to sing it but we can all be thankful that he completed recording his inspirational album before his death.”

» Full article

As Madiba says above, the album he completed before his death will be released on June 14th.

» The title track featuring Mr Mandela:

Siphiwo Feat. Nelson Mandela - Hope:

The track is available now via Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

Sadly he didn’t get the opportunity to make a video for the song.
Here is a short clip of a fan made video I found on YouTube:

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