The 2010 FIFA World Cup will close in spectacular fashion, with a range of international musicians, dancers and visual artists entertaining the Soccer City crowd for the final match – a fitting end to the historic debut of Africa’s first World Cup.
The ceremony is set to be a colourful, celebratory tribute to the tournament, the fans and their experiences in the host country during what has been a memorable month. As millions of viewers from around the world look on, one little girl will be fulfilling a dream as she takes to the stage dancing beside her icon, Shakira.
“I started dancing because of Shakira,” said 8-year-old Keeshenka Pillay. “I love dancing and it will be a dream come true to dance with her.”
Pillay has been a freestyle dancer for three years and auditioned for the position as one of Shakira’s dancers during the closing ceremony in Johannesburg. “I was nervous but we danced in a group so it was fine, it was a nice experience. I was very happy to be chosen and I will remember it forever.”
While auditioning, Pillay was thinking of only one thing. “I was imagining what it would be like – me dancing on stage with Shakira in front of the whole world.”
Shakira has been Pillay’s role model for many years, admiring both her performance talents and her strong personality. “She is a good person and very friendly, you can see, I really look up to her and I want to be successful like her one day.”
The closing ceremony of the tournament will take place directly before the final match of the tournament and will start at 18h30. It will be broadcast live in 215 countries to an audience in excess of 500-million viewers and will feature 780 cast members and some of South Africa and Africa’s top musicians and dancers.
The fact that one of the largest television audiences in the word will be watching her dance does not frighten the young dancer. “I am very excited about the whole world watching,” said Pillay. “The World Cup has allowed me to meet Shakira, and I will be holding her hand so that will also make it better.”
Pillay is looking forward to returning to Glenanda Primary School, in the south of Johannesburg, after the World Cup is over and the school term has resumed. “Everyone will be jealous and asking me how it was, the whole school will want to know, it will make me happy to have that story to tell.”
Despite her age, the opportunity of performing at such a prestigious event has inspired Pillay to pursue her dreams. “I see Shakira and what she has done. Performing with her at the closing ceremony makes me feel like I can achieve anything.”
Aside from Shakira, other artists at the ceremony include multiple Grammy Award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Jozi, Stoan Seate, Slikour, Zuluboy, Abigail Kubeka, Theo Kgosinkwe, Afrikaans artists Nianell and flutist Wouter, Nigeria’s 2Face, Ghana’s Samini and popular local traditional group Ihashi Elimhlophe.