Rugby fans jam Soweto streets

2010-05-22 17:28

Johannesburg - An unlikely stream of traffic headed from Pretoria to Nasrec south of Johannesburg, causing a massive traffic jam as fans of both soccer and rugby headed to Soweto to celebrate their sport.

With flags waving, and wearing blue wigs, supporters of the Blue Bulls blew their vuvuzelas in a cross cultural assimilation.

Helicopters and six planes flying in formation circled the township ahead of the game between the Blue Bulls and the Crusaders in the Super 14 semi finals.

In the bumper to bumper traffic, black and white sports fans waved South African flags, had the Blue Bulls logo on their faces or wore Bafana Bafana football jerseys

People jumped out of their cars in the gridlock and danced, with vendors busily moving from car to car trying to sell winter warming beanies and horns.

Some people, eager to get into the grounds, parked their cars on the verge, and began walking to the stadium.

First for the Super14

This is the first Super 14 rugby match to be played in a township as the Bulls had to abandon their homeground Loftus in Pretoria as it is a World Cup venue and has already been handed over to the local organising committee for next month's games.

Orlando stadium is historically the home of Soccer teams Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows.

In 1976, it was also the venue to which students were marching when the Soweto uprising took place.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said earlier this week: "Not too long ago, Pretorians may have choked on their moustaches at the thought of skopping pale toe (kicking towards the poles) at Orlando stadium, Soweto.

"And the arrival of these giant Bulls from the north would have sent Sowetans ducking for cover."

He went on to say this was the most important development in rugby since the Springboks won the World Cup in 1995.

Bulls supporter Steve Jordaan, who was celebrating at the Sakhumzi restaurant in Vilakazi street, said: "I could be in the middle of Pretoria, there are at least 2000 bulls fans here, it's a huge party."

He said the crowd was a mixture of soccer and rugby supporters, all blowing vuvuzelas.

Another Bulls supporter added: "This should have happened a long time ago, and forced people out of their comfort zone."