South African president praises racial harmony at FIFA World Cup

08:59, June 23, 2010      

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South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday his government is very happy with the way the FIFA World Cup has brought together South Africans of different racial groups.

In a speech to journalists in Johannesburg, Zuma said he is "truly excited" by the success and the spirit engulfing South Africa.

"For the first time ever in the 16 years of freedom and democracy, we see black and white South Africans celebrating together in the stadiums and fan parks."

He said South Africa has not experienced such vibrancy and jubilation since the release of the iconic Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in 1990.

Later on Tuesday evening South Africa's national team Bafana Bafana were due to play France in a do or die group A FIFA World Cup match.

Zuma said he viewed the tournament not as an end in itself, but as a catalyst for development whose benefits would be felt long after the final whistle.

"Two weeks into the competition, we can proudly say that everything has gone according to plan with regards to the logistics of the tournament."

"We also remember that we have a much bigger responsibility. We are hosting this tournament on behalf of the African continent. We must succeed and we are doing exceptionally well so far," the president said.

Source:Xinhua

Special Report: World Cup 2010

(Editor:梁军)

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