Jun 11, 2010
Last week, a NASA satellite flew over South Africa so its sensors could snap this picture of the soccer stadium, known as Soccer City, where World Cup action begins today.
The stadium itself is the white rounded rectangle in the upper right corner of the image. The three big grayish things in the middle are slag heaps, the rocky refuse of more than a century of gold-mining activity in the Johannesburg district.
At the bottom edge of the picture is part of Diepkloof, one of the neighborhoods of Soweto. When Nelson Mandela was let out of prison in 1990, he made his first public appearance in the Soccer City stadium. In this same stadium today, the South African national team challenges Mexico in the opening game of the FIFA World Cup; sadly, Mandela, once a soccer player himself and a lifelong sportsman, is said to be too frail to attend. He is 91 years old.
As this posting goes to, um, press, Mexico has just tied South Africa, 1-1, in the opening game.