JOHANNESBURG: Nelson Mandela waved to the crowd and Shakira had fans dancing in their seats as South Africa bade farewell to the 2010 World Cup in emotional and pulsating fashion.
The anti-apartheid icon had kept a low profile during the month-long tournament, having decided against attending the opening game following the death of his great-grand daughter.
He flashed his famous smile and waved to the more than 80,000 fans as he circled the pitch alongside his wife Graca Machel in an open-air vehicle, in a brief but proud moment the nation had long waited for.
He was greeted by cheers of "Madiba", his clan name used affectionately by his compatriots, which rang louder than applause for any of the stars at the closing show that illuminated the stands in fireworks and lights.
Mandela shook hands with officials before leaving the field a few minutes later.
Shakira, backed by South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground, did one last rendition of the World Cup's theme tune, Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) after a lights show and fireworks.
Also performing yesterday was Grammy Award-winning cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The ceremony was attended by heads of state from across Africa, including South Africa's Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.