Orlando Stadium

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Not to be confused with Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando Stadium
Factory of Dreams
Orlando Stadium.jpg
Location Mooki St., Orlando East, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
Coordinates 26°13′54.82″S 27°55′22.41″E / 26.2318944°S 27.9228917°E / -26.2318944; 27.9228917Coordinates: 26°13′54.82″S 27°55′22.41″E / 26.2318944°S 27.9228917°E / -26.2318944; 27.9228917
Owner City of Johannesburg
Operator Stadium Management South Africa
Capacity 40,000[1]
Surface Grass
Opened 1959
Renovated 2008
Construction cost R280 million (2008 refurbishment)[2]
Orlando Pirates

Orlando Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. The stadium was originally built in 1959, at a cost of £37,500, with a capacity of 24,000 as the home of the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association.[3]


It is currently used mostly for football matches, as the home stadium of Orlando Pirates FC of the Premier Soccer League, and was intended to be utilized, as a training field, for teams participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup after it was completely rebuilt and reopened on 22 November 2008. In addition to the stadium capacity of 40,000 people, there is an auditorium for 200 people, 120 hospitality suites, a gymnasium and a conference centre.[3]


The stadium was originally built for the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association and it had a seating capacity of 24,000 and cost £37,500 to construct. It was opened by the Minister for Bantu development, MC de Wet Nel, and Ian Maltz who was then Mayor of Johannesburg.

Although intended for football the stadium has been used for concerts by the Jazz musicians Molombo and by the O'Jays. Boxing matches were also staged including the 1975 victory of Elijah ‘Tap Tap' Makhathini over the world welterweight and middleweight champion Emile Griffith.[4]

Main article: Soweto uprising

On 16 June 1976 thousands of black students marched to Orlando Stadium to protest at having to learn the Afrikaans language. It was intended to be a rally and although it was organised some of the students only joined the protest on the day. It was planned to be a peaceful protest by the Soweto Students’ Representative Council’s (SSRC) Action Committee. The marchers got as far as their last meeting point when the police and tear gas arrived. The day ended in deaths and this was the start of the Soweto Uprising.[5]

In 1978 the Orlando Pirates took on Phil Venter who had been the first White National Football Association player to play for a black side. He was soon joined by another white player Keith Broad.[6]

In 1993 the stadium played host to the funeral of Walter Sisulu and amongst the mourners were Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho.[4]

In 1994 South Africa became democratic and on the anniversary of the Soweto Uprising Nelson Mandela gave a speech at this stadium where he committed the country to look after its children.[4]

From 2008 to 2010 the stadium was rebuilt with a steel frame and this increased the capacity to 40,000 at a cost of 280m Rand. The stadium hosted a Super 14 Rugby union semi-final in 2010, as well as the 2010 Super 14 Final, a week later. This was due to the Bulls' usual home ground Loftus Versfeld Stadium being unavailable, due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[7][8]

Besides serving as a training venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it also hosted the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert on 10 June 2010, featuring artists[9] such as Hugh Masekela, the Parlotones, Freshlyground, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Alicia Keys, John Legend, the Black Eyed Peas and Shakira.[2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.worldofstadiums.com/africa/south-africa/orlando-stadium/
  2. ^ a b Orlando Stadium, stadiummanagement.co.za, accessed June 2013
  3. ^ a b Soweto's field of dreams, South Africa.info, 25 June 2009
  4. ^ a b c [1], Orlando Stadium History, Joburg.org.za, accessed 6 June 2013
  5. ^ "The Soweto uprising 1976". socialistworld.net. 
  6. ^ [_id=47847 "Defending Football"]. The Witness. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Bulls in 'an ideal situation'". iafrica.com Sport. 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  8. ^ "Crusaders on a mission". Times LIVE. 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  9. ^ FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert