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June 11, 2010
World Cup opening ceremonies
JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- The first World Cup ever held in Africa opened Friday in a dazzling burst of joy, color and noise -- and just a tinge of sadness. Before a jubilant, horn-blowing crowd in Soccer City, the spectacular stadium between Johannesburg and Soweto, hundreds of African dancers in vivid greens, reds and yellows paraded onto the field for the opening ceremony of the monthlong tournament. Most of the fans were in the yellow jerseys of Bafana Bafana, the host country's team, with a few pockets of green -- fans of Mexico, South Africa's foe in the opening match. The elation was tempered by news that Nelson Mandela, the revered anti-apartheid leader and former South African president, would not attend the ceremony. The 91-year-old Mandela is frail, and decided not to come after his 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from Thursday night's World Cup concert. (30 images)

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A supporter waves a South African flag as he blows a vuvuzela, prior to the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Eugene Hoshiko


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Performers display the flags of all the teams competing during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / David Cannon



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Performers dance around a representation of the calabash cooking pot which inspired the design of Soccer City Stadium, during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Christof Koepsel



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Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. AFP / Getty Images / Gabriel Bouys



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Performers sing during the opening ceremony before the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Themba Hadebe



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A drummer performs during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Clive Mason



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Performers dance in front of a representation of the calabash cooking pot which inspired the design of Soccer City Stadium, during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Clive Mason



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Artists perform during the World Cup opening ceremony at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Martin Meissner



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Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Clive Mason



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South African dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Alexander Joe



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Planes fly over Soccer City during the opening ceremony before the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Marcio Sanchez



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Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. AFP / Getty Images / Christophe Simon



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Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. AFP/ Getty Images / Gabriel Bouys



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Artists perform during the opening ceremony before the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Marcio Sanchez



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Dancers in traditional costume performs during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Michael Steele



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South African dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Roberto Schmidt



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The Soweto Spiritual singers perform during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Clive Mason



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Dancers in traditional costume perform during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / David Cannon



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Entertainers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. AFP/ Getty Images / Gabriel Bouys



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Dancers in traditional costume perform during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Getty Images / Cameron Spencer



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Entertainers carry a beetle dummy as they perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. AFP/ Getty Images / Gabriel Bouys



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Performers carry a mock-up beetle during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Omar Torres



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South African dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Omar Torres



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Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Omar Torres



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Performers smile at the start of the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Pedro Ugarte



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Football fans cheer ahead of the start of the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. AFP / Getty Images / Omar Torres



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South African soccer fans cheer prior to the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Ivan Sekretarev



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South African soccer fans cheer prior to the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Ivan Sekretarev



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A South African fan, cheers as she watches through a giant screen the World Cup group A match between South Africa and Mexico at the beach of Durban, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Hussein Malla



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A soccer fan waits for the kick-off of the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010. AP / Mat Dunham



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