June 2010, South Africa will be the first African country to host a
Soccer World Cup. The eyes of millions of spectators and viewers from around the world will converge on one continent, one nation, the home of Nelson Mandela.
South Africa is often portrayed in the media as a nation hampered by high criminality, the astonishing record of a rape every 23 seconds, and the highest number of HIV/Aid infected people in the world. Truly, life in South Africa is a challenge for a large majority of the population, living under the poverty threshold. However, a definition of this nation should not be confined to a plethora of statistics and percentages. Behind the veil of anonymous data stands 44 million people. South African born or asylum seekers, they are people with stories to tell, stories of a South African life.
It would be pretentious to think one can describe South Africa rigorously. So
how can one report on such a vast and complex society without conveying clichés, generalizations or simplifications? How should
one relay the disillusions, fears, but also hopes, dreams and
achievements of a nation? Perhaps the best way is to take time; to listen, observe and understand. And moreover, let the people one
meets after a certain time in the country tell their own experience.
Hence the following project.
Over a few days or a week, or in the course of a particular event, you will follow the lives of people living in Cape Town, via a series of multimedia reports. Audio recordings and photos-in-motion will take you to Khanyisa and Siphumle's household in Khayelitsha, second biggest South African township. Here, at the back end of a massive grid of informal settlements, some thirty kilometres away from Cape Town, they are in their fifth year of waiting for access to electricity and water. We shall spend time with Aime, a DRC refugee working as a car guard in Cape Town's city centre, trying to shape his South African eldorado. Paul, a Cameroonese citizen, came two years ago to Cape Town to play soccer in the Homeless World Cup. He never took the flight back home. Paul strives to become a professional soccer player in the country that will soon host the world's biggest soccer event. Siya manages The Joburg Strikers, a club catering for the soccer needs of several age groups within the informal settlement of Phillippi, one of the multitude of townships consisting mammoth Khayelithsa. The community leader is adamant that sport is the best way to motivate youth.