IN EXACTLY 50 days South Africa will welcome the world to the most awe-inspiring spectacle of our time - Africa's first Fifa World Cup kickoff.

This milestone marks the beginning of festivities and generation of the hype that will climax on June 10 with the massive live festival bill at the unofficial soccer Mecca, Orlando Stadium.

Most host cities are lining up programmes to excite residents and urge them to embrace not only the tourists but the throng of visitors and global soccer lovers heading for their cities and towns.

Topping the countdown is a national celebration headlined by President Jacob Zuma and LOC CEO Danny Jordaan in Kimberley today.

l Tshwane has a full programme today as the country counts down to the hugely anticipated sporting event. Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa will lead the programme in Winterveldt, about 40km from Pretoria, where she will deliver a keynote address to mark the 50-day countdown to kickoff.

"It is important that we regularly engage them on our progress and plans as the opening of the tournament draws nearer," Ramokgopa said.

The municipality's 2010 Fifa World Cup programme head Godfrey Nkwane, said: "Loftus Versfeld is well on track for handover to Fifa on May 24."

l Jozi will have a mini celebration at the Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, today.

Between 12.30pm and 1.30pm there will be diski dance sessions.

Jozi's full gig will celebrate 25 days to kickoff in Soweto's Vilakazi Street.

l On the Vaal, Sedibeng municipality mayor Simon Mofokeng will lead countdown celebrations at midnight at the Riverside Hotel.

l Nelpruit host city and the Free State will be joining the national countdown programme in Kimberley.

l A luxury train bound for Newcastle and carrying Premier Zweli Mkhize and other VIP's will leave Durban Station this morning.

l The Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg, North West, will be handing out information and promotional material at the Rustenburg taxi rank. The host city will mark 40 days to kickoff.