A beaming Nelson Mandela waved to tens of thousands of fans in Soccer City in the South African city of Johannesburg ahead of the World Cup final, leading to huge applause as he was driven onto the pitch.
Soccer City erupted in lights for the World Cup closing ceremony on Sunday, with singers performing a melody of local music from urban hip-hop to a cappella chorals.
The farewell to Africa's first World Cup began with three fighter jets flying overhead, as the calabash-shaped stadium was lit up in blue and red and then ignited by fireworks that appeared to set the field alight.
Performers danced into the shape of a vuvuzela that spouted lights leading to Colombian superstar Shakira who performed her song "Waka Waka", the tournament's official anthem, with local band Freshlyground.
About 780 dancers dressed in colourful urban youth gear broke into synchronised dance, sending the 85,000 fans into a celebratory frenzy.
Giant projecters illuminated a highlights reel using the pitch as a screen, showing the best moments of the 32 teams who played in games leading to the final between the Netherlands and Spain.
Performers marched across the field with lights leaving a trail of national flags behind them.
As the show started in Johannesburg, fireworks went off in Cape Town above the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving Dutch colonial structure, to the cheers of thousands who gathered in a plaza to watch it on a huge screen.
Grammy winning South African a cappella act, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, sang "Rain Rain Beautiful Rain" as life-size puppets of the nation's wildlife glided around the pitch, with elephants and hippos gathering at a watering hole.
A larger-than-life marimba was then projected on the field, played by peformers jumping on it.
In a symbolic gesture to thank the nations who participated, illuminated words "thank you", written in different languages lit up the field in the final moments.
The ceremony was broadcast live to 215 countries and territories, with more than 700 million people expected to watch, according to FIFA.