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.