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Spectacular Opening Ceremony Announced

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    Spectacular Opening Ceremony Announced

    Spectacular Opening Ceremony announced in Cape Town

    It will be bigger than anything that cricket has before experienced and on a scale that will make all South Africans proud. That's the promise for the opening ceremony of the International Cricket Council World Cup to be hosted by South Africa in 2003.

    "It will be an event that all South Africans should and will be proud of," says Dr Ali Bacher, ICC Cricket World Cup Organising Committee Executive Director.

    The two-hour ceremony, which will be held at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Saturday 8 February 2003, will be broadcast live on SABC TV from 8.15pm - 10.15pm.

    "It is our expressed hope that the television viewership worldwide will impact positively on our country because, among other things, we want tourism to benefit significantly from the opening ceremony and the World Cup. This will be a perfect moment to showcase what we are capable of," Dr Bacher said.

    The opening match of the 54-match tournament, between South Africa and the West Indies, will be played at Newlands on Sunday 9 February.

    In another first for a cricket World Cup, a Closing Ceremony will also be staged. This will take place at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg immediately after the final on 23 March.

    Inspired by what he experienced during the spectacular and widely publicised opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Dr Bacher said this would be the biggest opening ceremony in the history of any South African and, indeed, African sporting event.

    Dr Bacher said: "We want to embrace all South Africans and for them to take pride in the fact that our country is able to produce an opening ceremony of such splendour. We have confidence that the company running the show, Ceremonies for Africa, has the skills and expertise to produce an event of this magnitude. It is envisaged that about 5 000 volunteer performers will take part in the ceremony in front of an estimated 25 000 crowd.

    "In winning the tender to organise the event, the company gave assurance that black people will be significantly empowered by this event," Dr Bacher said.

    This is in line with one of the policies of the Policy Committee of the ICC 2003 Cricket World Cup that South African companies that are given commercial opportunities through the World Cup must have a satisfactory black empowerment element.

    To this end, two black producers will form part of the senior production team. They are Raylene Plaatjies and Matthews Makome. The other two are executive producer Penny Jones of Ceremonies for Africa, who will be in charge of the overall artistic and production control, and Ken Annandale.