In a yellow top, body-hugging blue denims and stilettos, Shakira's posing with a Jabulani ball seemed an appropriate ending for a media conference through which she bounced with energy and charm.
“Shakira, look this way”, chorused shutterbugs from one side of Soccer City's conference hall. And she did, with a million watt smile. “Now this way,” said another group, and again the Colombian superstar obliged.
And when Joseph Tshabalala, winner of three Grammy awards and Paul Simon's collaborator on the Graceland album, hesitantly moved alongside to be in the frame, Shakira put an arm around the South African singer to put him at ease.
This was after describing the past month “as one of the most exciting phases of her life”, one during which she became a “football fanatic.” “Never in my life did I imagine to go to the sports section (in a newspaper) first. I love the goals I saw from (David) Villa. And I love the way (Spain's Gerard) Pique plays. He's a beautiful defender.”
‘Waka, Waka’, her song for Africa that is the WC anthem, came to her while on a break in Uruguay. “I got it, I got it, I yelled and recorded it with just guitar and vocals.”
Among the many memories of South Africa is the way she was greeted on landing, “I have never been received this way at the immigration area, officials dancing and singing Waka, Waka.” On way to the Argentina-Nigeria game, Shakira, who called herself a child of Africa, said she saw people dancing in front of her car to that song.
Shakira said her Sunday show would be an all-female affair because she wanted to honour the strength of African women, with whom she felt a strong kinship.
Apart from Shakira, Tshabalala's Ladysmith Black Mambazo will also perform while a herd of white elephant puppets will parade through Soccer City. Beginning at 9.30pm IST, the closing programme will precede the match and last 27 minutes. Fabio Cannavaro, who led Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, will bring the trophy to the stadium.