The Orlando Stadium, located in Soweto, is the home of one of South Africa’s biggest soccer teams, the Orlando Pirates.
The Orlando Stadium was rebuilt at a cost of R280 million ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and now has a capacity for 40,000 fans. The stadium has not only been used for soccer, in 2010 it also hosted the semi-final and final of the Super Rugby 14 championship and the stadium has also been used to host boxing matches and concerts. During the World Cup the stadium also hosted the World Cup kick off concert which featured international pop stars Shakira and Black Eyed Peas.
Orlando Stadium has been the scene of a number of important historical moments, not all of them involving sports. On June 16, 1976 thousands of black students from Soweto marched to Orlando Stadium to protest against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools. The students intended to hold a rally and a peaceful protest at the stadium but a violent response from the police meant they never reached the stadium and the day ended in tragedy as scores of students were killed.
In 2003 thousands of mourners gathered at Orlando Stadium for the funeral of the anti-apartheid leader Walter Sisulu and some years later in 2011 the stadium was also the venue for the funeral of Walter’s wife Albertina, who was affectionately known as Ma Sisulu and was also a major anti-apartheid leader.