Orlando Stadium

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Orlando Stadium
Factory of Dreams
Orlando Stadium.jpg
Orlando Stadium
LocationMooki St., Orlando East, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
Coordinates 26°13′54.82″S27°55′22.41″E / 26.2318944°S 27.9228917°E / -26.2318944; 27.9228917 Coordinates: 26°13′54.82″S27°55′22.41″E / 26.2318944°S 27.9228917°E / -26.2318944; 27.9228917
Owner City of Johannesburg
OperatorStadium Management South Africa
Capacity 37,139 [1]
Surface Grass
Construction cost R280 million (2008 refurbishment) [2]
Orlando Pirates
South Africa National Football Team

Orlando Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, in Gauteng province in South Africa. It is the home venue for Orlando Pirates Football Club, a professional soccer team that plays in the Premier Soccer League.


Orlando Stadium has hosted MTN 8 Cup Final and a Nedbank Cup Final.


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 36,761 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 on 2 May 1959. [4] [5]

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' Makhatini over the world welterweight and middleweight champion Emile Griffith. [6]

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. [7]

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. [8]

In 1995, the stadium played host to the funeral of African National Congress stalwart, Joe Slovo, as well as that of Walter Sisulu in 2003 where Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho were among the mourners. [6]
In 2011, the stadium hosted the funeral of Albertina Sisulu where Jacob Zuma, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia were among the mourners, and also hosted the funeral of Winnie Mandela in 2018 where Cyril Ramaphosa; former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, and Jacob Zuma; Hage Geingob of Namibia; Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville; Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana; and Naomi Campbell of Britain were amongst the mourners.

In 1994, South Africa became democratic. 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. [6]


From 2008 to 2010, the stadium was rebuilt with a steel frame and this increased the capacity to 36,761 at a cost of 280m Rand.

Other uses

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. [9] [10] Orlando Stadium was used 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 such as Hugh Masekela, the Parlotones, Freshlyground, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Alicia Keys, The Who, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, the Dave Matthews Band, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Justin Bieber, John Legend, the Black Eyed Peas, and Shakira.

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  1. "Orlando Stadium | Stadium Management SA".
  2. Orlando Stadium, stadiummanagement.co.za, accessed June 2013
  3. Soweto's field of dreams, South Africa.info, 25 June 2009
  4. "History of Orlando Stadium". Soweto Urban. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. Moya, Fikile-Ntsikelelo (15 December 2005). "A fitting farewell to Orlando Stadium". The M&G Online. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  6. 1 2 3 , Orlando Stadium History, Joburg.org.za, accessed 6 June 2013
  7. "The Soweto uprising 1976". socialistworld.net. Archived from the original on 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  8. "Defending Football". The Witness. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  9. "Bulls in 'an ideal situation'". iafrica.com Sport. 2010-05-16. Archived from the original on 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
  10. "Crusaders on a mission". Times LIVE. 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2010-05-16.