The Origins of Zakumi



Zakumi birthday is the 16th June, the same as South Africa’s Youth Day! He was born in 1994, the year that we got our freedom. He is therefore part of the “born free” South African generation. Zakumi is actually a leopard.  He is green and yellow, the colours all South African sports teams wear. The name ‘Zakumi’ is a composition of ‘ZA’ standing for South Africa and ‘kumi’, which translates into ‘10′ in various languages across Africa. the word “Zakumi” itself means  “come here,” a friendly invite to Africa perhaps? 

Zakumi is described as “jolly, self-confident, adventurous, spontaneous, and actually quite shrewd little fellow. He loves to perform and always follows his instinct and intuition, yet sometimes has the tendency to exaggerate a bit. You will often find him fooling about and teasing people but not in a mean way. He is warm-hearted and caring, and wants to make as many friends as possible.”

Zakumi’s will be leading the World into the 2010 World Cup, and with that wicked hair-do, he’s undoubedtly going to be the most legendary mascot of them all. FIFA has been using mascots for the World Cup since 1966., and previous World Cup mascots include a lion, an orange, a dog, a cockerel and a stick figure soccer player.

“He wants to create a good mood for the fans and raise the excitement for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first on African soil. He is a proud South African and wants to ensure that the world will come together in South Africa,”  Lucas Radebe, South Africa’s football icon and close friend of Zakumi.

Previous Mascots:


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