THE streets of Durban came alive yesterday as hundreds of fans joined a colourful and spectacular parade to kick off the province's first World Cup match.
The match was staged at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Bikers, traditional dancers, a youth brass band, drum majorettes and giant floats were part of the street carnival.
Before the kickoff between Germany and Australia, Premier Zweli Mkhize, eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba and other leaders welcomed all soccer fans to the Fifa Fan Fest Big Stage on the city's beach front.
Mkhize welcomed the visitors to the province and assured them of their safety.
"We are pleased you are here. Enjoy all there is from our beaches to our mountains."
The sound of the vuvuzelas was drowned out by the cheering fans and onlookers and the brass band as the parade came to a halt. Excited Australian and German soccer fans who came out to see the parade said they were looking forward to the big match and many said they were enthralled by the vuvuzelas and have even begun learning the diski dance.
The province and city have made certain that a lot is on offer for soccer fans that have flocked to the city. The province is holding Public Viewing Areas in 10 districts so that locals can get a feel of the World Cup in their communities.
The city is hosting the Fifa Fan Fest, Durban Beach Festival and the two PVAs at Bridge City in KwaMashu and the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. All PVAs have been designed to offer activities and fun for the whole family.
Yesterday evening Mkhize hosted ambassadors and other dignitaries from Germany and Australia at the much sought-after Cargo Hold marine restaurant at the world famous Ushaka Marine World in Durban.
Thereafter guests were taken by luxury coach to the stadium for the match.