Youth Day and FIFA World Cup 2010
The 16th June in South Africa is Youth Day and commemorates the start of the Soweto riots of 1976, initially sparked by a government edict that all instruction in black schools would be held in Afrikaans. The iconic picture of Hector Pieterson, a black schoolchild shot by the police, brought home to many people within and outside South Africa the brutalities of the Apartheid regime. The mascot for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Zakumi, has his birthday on that day in 1994.
Zakumi was born 16 June 1994 and is the Official Mascot for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He is a cheerful and sporty leopard with green hair. His name comes from “ZA”, the code for South Africa, and “kumi”, a word that means ten in several African languages.
Zakumi’s birth date coincides with a day known and celebrated as Youth Day in South Africa. The group A match played between South Africa and Uruguay also coincides with Zakumi’s birthday.
The green and gold colours of the character match the colours used in South African sport uniforms and can also be seen in the South Africa national football team’s kit.