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BBuilt in 1987 and originally known as National Stadium SA, this stadium has 3 decades of history and heritage associated with its name. The stadium has been the venue of both delight and sorrow, hosting several landmark events in the history of South Africa. The stadium goes by various other names, the best known of which are the FNB Stadium, Soccer City and The Calabash (after its iconic shape).
The FNB stadium is located in Nasrec, near Johannesburg’s Soweto. This iconic 94 736 seater is the largest venue in South Africa, and was the main stadium for the 2010 World Cup. It needed to undergo major renovations to accommodate tens of thousands of football fans and players from around the world.
IIts rounded shape was inspired by calabashes, which are traditional African pots. The cladding resembles intricate mosaics that represent fire and earth, while the lighting that encircles the base of the stadium mirrors the flames of a fire burning under the ‘pot’. The stadium facilities include executive suites, wheelchair access, 184 hospitality suites, parking for 15 000 cars, as well as underground parking for 4 000 VIP vehicles.
FNB stadium (Mandela Funeral)
TThe multi-purpose FNB Stadium also offers a variety of smaller venue options for corporate and private events, as well as live music concerts. Many international artists have performed at the stadium, including U2, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rihana.
The stadium has been the centre of historic events, starting with the first iconic speech from former President Nelson Mandela in 1990. This took place a few days after being released from prison where he served 27 years. It was also the site of Chris Hani's funeral service and the venue for the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals.
OOn 10 December 2013, FNB Stadium is where more than 90 world leaders gathered together for the memorial service of Nelson Mandela. Speeches were rendered by United State President Barack Obama, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, China's Vice-President Li Yuanchao, President Raul Castro Ruz of Cuba and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the memorial service.
This is not just a stadium it is a place of celebration, mourning, arts, culture, history and triumph.
It was an act that had played out many times in South Africa: a forced removal. In 1904 bubonic plague broke out in the town centre, in an area known as Brickfields. Once the brick makers had been removed 25km south, to Klipspruit, the area was fenced and razed to the ground. And so Soweto was born.