27 May 2010

Cow slaughtered outside Soccer City

11:43 am on 27 May 2010

South African tribal chiefs and healers have slaughtered a cow outside Soccer City in Johannesburg, the biggest stadium at the World Cup, as part of rituals to appease the spirits of ancestors and welcome fans.

The ceremony is intended to cleanse the air and ensure spirits weren't frightened by the many languages that would be spoken during the month-long tournament.

South Africa is the first African country to host football's showpiece event, starting on June 11th, and expects some 300,000 foreign visitors.

The 94,000-seat Soccer City will stage the opening and final matches of the tournament.

Animal slaughter is a ritual among local tribal groups to call on ancestors to bless an occasion.