Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

TThe ground is shaking, your heart is fluttering, you can barely think straight and there’s noise coming from every angle. The atmosphere is electrifying. It feels like every nerve in your body is on fire. It’s an adrenaline rush like you’ve never felt before.

You’re at Ellis Park (now known as the Emirates Airline Park) to witness a cliff-hanging match between the South African national rugby team, the Springboks, and New Zealand’s All Blacks in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.

South Africa has just broken free from the shackles of apartheid – during which, sport was used as a major tool for resistance against the system of racial segregation.

Did You Know?
EEmirates Airline Park, was constructed in 1928 and was first named for Mr J.D. Ellis who initially made the land for the stadium available.

SSo now in front of you is the first major sporting event in the country, following South Africa’s exclusion from the international stage in most sporting codes including cricket, rugby and football. These sanctions served the purpose of both highlighting the unjust system in the country at the time and of applying pressure on the National Party to abolish apartheid.

Emirates Airline Park

Food
When to visit
How to get here

TThrongs of supporters (of all races) are on their tenterhooks as the clock hits 80 minutes. The score is locked at 9-9. We’re going into extra time. The South African boys are fighting for their lives on the pitch. However, there are only seven minutes to go now until the final whistle. Joost van der Westhuizen (legendary scrum-half) passes the ball to Joel Stransky (legendary fly-half), who slots a telling drop goal to secure a 15-12 victory for the Springboks – sparking a fairy-tale run for the team.

The final whistle on apartheid                  

It wasn’t just the victory of the underdog that put this match in the history books as one of the greatest sporting moments of the 20th century. Marking the paradigm shift from the apartheid regime, it revealed the true healing power of sport.

Leading up to the match, South Africa – divided along colour lines – was still trying to clean up the remnants of apartheid. Rugby had always been considered a "white man’s" sport, but former president Nelson Mandela made the decision to embrace the tournament and publicly backed the predominantly white Springbok team.

He asserted that “sport is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers".

AAnd boy was he right.

Madiba was 14 months into his term as the country’s first democratically elected president when he strode onto the field wearing a Springbok shirt to hand the Webb Ellis Cup to Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar. At the same time, a new nation was erupting.

Emirates Airline Park: Much more than just a stadium

Following the significant milestone of 1995, Emirates Airline Park, which boasts a total capacity of 60 000 people, has become one of the country’s go-to stadia for large-scale events, including music concerts and international football matches.

 

One of which was the FIFA Confederations Cup final in 2009 – a year before hosting a number of international matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 

The stadium made yet another mark in the history of South Africa by becoming the first black-owned stadium in the country in 2005 after Golden Lions Rugby Union handed the reins over to a majority black-owned company.

Today, Emirates Airline Park is home to Johannesburg rugby team, the Highveld Lions and is managed by Interza Lesego, Orlando Pirates Football Club and Ellis Park World of Sport.

In addition to hosting sporting events, the stadium also offers nine conference venues, boasting a capacity of 1000 people. Whether you choose an executive suite or a banquet conference venue, you’re guaranteed a charming view of the pitch.

If you wish to see it all, you can arrange a tour of this iconic stadium. You also have the option to visit the Ellis Park Rugby Museum (located within the stadium).

More than just a display of an interesting collection of rugby memorabilia, the museum tells a story of the Springbok experience in South Africa.

Related Articles

Vibrant culture

The Cradle of Humankind: the world’s richest hominim site

Vibrant culture
The Cradle of Humankind: the world’s richest hominim site

The Cradle, so named because it was the earliest area in which evidence of our ape-like ancestors were discovered, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999

Vibrant culture

The rich and diverse Afrikaans culture

Vibrant culture
The rich and diverse Afrikaans culture

The Afrikaans culture is as rich and diverse as the South African landscape.

Vibrant culture

Music of South Africa - discover the rhythmic heartbeat

Vibrant culture
Music of South Africa - discover the rhythmic heartbeat

The music culture in South Africa is made up of diverse genres, from jazz, hip hop, kwaito and gospel to pop and alternative rock.

Vibrant culture

11 South African drinks you’ll definitely love

Vibrant culture
11 South African drinks you’ll definitely love

From soft red tea leaves and fermented milk to home-made beers and pub-favoured shooters, these are some of South Africa’s finest drinks.

Vibrant culture

Shebeens – your uniquely South African local tavern experience

Vibrant culture
Shebeens – your uniquely South African local tavern experience

The first shebeens in South Africa were local bars and taverns where mostly working-class urban males could unwind, socialise, and escape the oppression of life during the Apartheid era.

Vibrant culture

The fascinating story behind the birth of gumboot dancing

Vibrant culture
The fascinating story behind the birth of gumboot dancing

Gumboot dancing was originally a means of communication amongst miners who were forbidden from talking to one another.

Vibrant culture

Pretoria Central Prison - Pretoria Central Prison bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past (1)

Vibrant culture
Pretoria Central Prison - Pretoria Central Prison bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past (1)

Pretoria Central Prison is arguably the most infamous prison where Mandela was held before he was transferred to Robben Island.

Vibrant culture

The Old Synagogue - from Jewish place of worship to historic courtroom

Vibrant culture
The Old Synagogue - from Jewish place of worship to historic courtroom

Paul Kruger Street Synagogue, the first synagogue to be constructed in Pretoria, was expropriated by the government in 1952 and converted into a special Supreme Court.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy