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JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is riding a wave of patriotism ahead of the World Cup, which national leaders hope will heal the still-sharp racial divide 16 years after the end of white-minority rule.

For weeks the Rainbow Nation’s flag has fluttered over black and white neighbourhoods. South Africans are learning the verses of their multi-lingual national anthem sung in languages other than their own. And lines to buy World Cup tickets are many hued.

“It is heartening to see how the entire nation is united in support,” said President Jacob Zuma, who every Friday wears the national side’s jersey.

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