And the Crowd Goes Wild…

I spent the day with 200,000 of the loudest people you’d ever want to meet.

“Vuvuzela Day” was held across South Africa, where at noon, people stopped what they were doing and blew their vuvuzelas – those long, plastic horns that drone like a wailing elephant.

In Sandton, the crowds started at 10 am for the noon start of  “United We Shall Stand” which was billed as a support rally for the South African national team, “Bafana Bafana.” This was not just a celebration of the team but a popping of the cork on a month-long celebration of something greater. The day’s event was a show that this World Cup really is a big deal — not just for the team, but for the people and the country.

By noon, a four-block stretch in Sandton was so thick with people, the last few remaining cars could barely get through. The deafening sound of the vuvuzelas could only be topped by groups of people singing Shosholoza, the South Africa’s soccer anthem. The diverse crowd danced, sang and blew their vuvuzelas for hours on end. The international visitors in the crowd had that look of awe on their faces as if to say “and I thought we knew how to celebrate.”

The whole thing was surreal and absolutely amazing.

Ten hours later, my ears are still ringing.

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