Soweto's Soccer City, now the FNB Stadium, became a South African icon during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Soccer culture is at its boldest and brashest in this sprawling township south of Johannesburg.

Did you know?

Spain lifted the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time after their win against the Netherlands in the final of the 2010  tournament in Soweto.

Soccer City hosted the first and last match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, including the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium is now known as the FNB Stadium/Soccer City, and hosts large rugby and soccer matches and big events like concerts.

In many ways, Soweto's FNB Stadium/Soccer City is the heart of football in South Africa. Not only has it played host to momentous moments in the country's soccer history such as the success of South Africa's National Team, Bafana Bafana, in the 1996 African Cup of Nations final, it has also been the site of significant events in recent political history.

Here the first mass rally following Nelson Mandela's release from prison was held in 1990, and, in 1993, thousands gathered here to mourn the assassination of freedom struggle hero Chris Hani.

It was also the venue for Nelson Mandela's memorial service on 10 December 2013 when an unprecedented gathering of world leaders took place, among them current US president Barrack Obama, along with former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W Bush.

A R1.5-billion upgrade ensured that this 2010 FIFA World Cup™ stadium was properly dressed for its important role. The new design resembles a calabash, or African beer pot. The warm, earthy colours of the 94 700-seater stadium show up vividly against the urban Sowetan landscape.

The stadium sports an extended upper tier, an encircling roof and a total of 184 hospitality suites. It has new change room facilities and improved lighting. Parking for 15 000 cars is available, with a further 4 000 underground bays for VIPs.

Sustainable building principles were a key consideration in construction, with use of reclaimed, low-maintenance materials and energy-saving fittings. In the summer, run-off water from the stadium is stored and used for utilitarian and irrigation purposes.

There are plans afoot for a museum tracing the history of football in Soweto to be built adjacent to the stadium in the future.

The famous 'Soweto Derbies', the soocer matches between bitter rival local soccer teams, Kaiser chiefs and Orlando Pirates, are played here.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

FNB Stadium/Soccer City
Tel: +27 (0)11 247 5300

Soweto Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)11 375 5555

Best time to visit

Tours take place Monday to Friday at 9am, 10.30am, 12 noon, 1.30pm and 3pm. Saturday and Sunday tours are at 12 noon and 1.30pm.

Around the area

Not far from Soweto, in southern Johannesburg, is the striking Apartheid Museum. You can temper this emotional experience with a visit to Gold Reef City across the road, a theme park built as a replica of early Johannesburg during the gold rush era.

Tours to do

Soweto is South Africa’s heritage capital with a plethora of sites and tours related to the freedom struggle. They include the Vilakazi Street homes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Nelson Mandela, the Hector Pieterson Museum, and the Regina Mundi Catholic Church.

What will it cost

Cost: R80 per person, children under 6 free, pensioners R70. A family ticket of R160 is valid for two adults and three children under the age of 16.

What to pack

Though generally fine and mild during the day with plenty of sunshine, winter evenings in Johannesburg are cold so pack accordingly. And always bring plenty of sunscreen, even in winter.

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