KIRSTI BUICK

FIFA has announced the final line-up for the Soccer World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert; a revised line-up which includes more local names than originally announced by FIFA. This is in response to the uproar caused by their earlier programme which contained only three local acts.

The original list featured the international acts: the Black-Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, John Legend and Shakira, as well as artists such as Columbian musician Juanes, West African singer Angélique Kidjo and Vieux Farka Touré, a singer and guitarist from Mali. The only South African artists included in this initial line-up were the Parlotones, Vusi Mahlasela and Blk Jks.

Other local artists were concerned with the primarily international programme and, supported by the Department of Arts and Culture and the Creative Workers’ Union, took their complaints to FIFA. A meeting was held between the parties concerned even as FIFA maintained that they would still be announcing more acts.

The Creative Workers’ Union, a COSATU affiliate, stated prior to the meeting that the concert should consist of “at least 80%” African and South African acts. Union president Mabutho Sithole expressed his concern that the line-up was “majority American”. Sithole went on to ask, “Who is best suited to articulate the culture of our country?”

On announcing the initial line-up, FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke stated that the artists would serve as “a testament to the universal and unifying nature of football.”

The organization hired to put on the spectacle, Control Room, confirmed FIFA’s statement that the list was not finalised. The production company’s South African representative, Hazel Feldman, said that an announcement had to be made in good time so that tickets could go on sale. Feldman did, however, agree that there was not enough South African content.

FIFA’s decision also faced criticism from the government. The Department of Arts and Culture said that they “supported the outcry from artists” and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana stated that it was “unacceptable” that so few local acts were performing.

At a meeting held in Sandton last month, Xingwana, Sithole and chief executive of the World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Danny Jordaan, agreed that more local artists must be included.

Xingwana stated that she was satisfied with the decision reached, and was glad that FIFA recognised the need for a greater representation of local artists.

Earlier this month, FIFA released a statement of the final line-up. Freshlyground, Hugh Masekela, the Mzansi Youth Choir, the Soweto Gospel Choir, and hip-hop star K’NAAN have been added to the bill.

Masekela says that he was humbled and flattered to be chosen to take the stage alongside the international stars. “I am looking forward to the concert with great interest and excitement,” said the South African music legend.

The show will take place on 10 June at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto and proceeds from the event will go to the “20 Centres for 2010” campaign, which aims to build 20 Football for Hope Centres across Africa.

Tickets for the concert are available from www.computicket.com with prices ranging from R450 to R1150.

Website | view posts