World Cup begins in Johannesburg; Mandela doesn't attend

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 11, 2010 18:11

 
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JOHANNESBURG — 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 at 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 month-long tournament.

The elation was tempered by news that Nelson Mandela, the revered anti-apartheid leader and former president, would not attend the ceremony. The 91-year-old Mandela is frail and decided not to attend after his 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on the way home from Thursday night's World Cup concert.

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