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Jazz fans to liven up subdued city for World Cup

Jazz fans to liven up subdued city for World Cup

From jazz to jacaranda, Pretoria can show off its colorful side to counter a reputation as a serious-minded hub of administration, science and learning.
Only an hour from the more vibrant Johannesburg, Pretoria hopes to give World Cup fans a memorable experience when it hosts six games and will try to convince visitors to stick around rather than return to its bigger neighbor just down the road.
Pretoria describes itself as a harmonious blend of African roots and European traditions. The Afrikaners made the city their headquarters when they arrived from the Netherlands in 1860, yet the city is also known by its African name Tshwane after a local chief from two centuries ago.
Still the administrative capital of South Africa, it has 135 embassies and missions, second only to Washington, and, while car manufacturing is its main industry, it has four respected universities, one being the largest in Africa.
Even the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, a one-time rugby stronghold now also being used for football, sits among an affluent, largely tree-lined area of the city, which is at 1,363 meters altitude (4,457 feet).
Like Johannesburg, which is only 56 kilometers (35 miles) away, Pretoria is dry in winter. Although its average daytime temperature is 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), it goes as low as 4 degrees C (39 degrees F) at night.
Fans headed for World Cup games will be able to get a metrorail service and walk 10 minutes to the ground. The service is free to anyone who can produce a match ticket, and the route to the stadium will be lined by security staff and volunteers. Those who go by car can use a park and ride service.
The express train service known as the "Gautrain" from Johannesburg won't be ready in time, however.
Although the project was conceived nine years ago, it was delayed considerably by drilling problems and legal disputes with people who needed to be rehoused. Construction didn't begin until 2006 and, by the time the World Cup kicks off, organizers hope it will at least be running between Oliver Tambo airport and central Johannesburg. The entire 80-kilometer (50-mile) track to Pretoria won't be finished until 2011.
Nicknamed "Jacaranda City" because of 70,000 purplish-blue flowering trees that bloom in the spring, Pretoria is also famous for its jazz clubs. Fans can enjoy jazz festivals at the township of Mamelodi and also concerts at nearby Atteridgeville, which is known as "Soul City."
With 18,000 beds in hotels, bed and breakfasts and self-catering apartments, Pretoria has plenty of accommodation considering fans based in Johannesburg can easily return to that city after the game.


Updated : 2021-04-19 01:54 GMT+08:00