Location: Soweto, South Africa
You don’t have to go very far in South Africa to come across a dusty scrap of land that has been converted into a soccer pitch by the locals. Whether on the side of the road, in a vacant parking lot, or, in this case, crammed between two suburbs in Soweto, the football field is as necessary for community life as the local shop or tavern.
Soweto is the largest township in the country, and vastly over-populated. Despite this, there is somewhere for the men to kick a ball around, even if they have to negotiate the electricity pole in the middle of the pitch.
Not only is the field used for soccer, it is also a space for both young and old members of the community to gather. It doubles as a children’s playground, a place to do exercise, a field for teaching people to drive and a meeting place for local church groups.
Transcript as narrated by Teezer Mokoto, Soweto, South Africa:
The field, its not even. It’s dusty and too bumpy. But it’s the field that we use everywhere in Soweto. Most of the fields are like that. But we enjoy playing on such fields soccer, than playing on the grass. Because another thing…People don’t want to grass this field. They just want it dusty.
The soccer field is important in a community like this because soccer is the most popular sport in South Africa. And mostly the location we are staying in produces a lot of soccer stars. I think everyone becomes familiar with soccer, and it’s the thing we do everyday, maybe in the street without even a field. You can see people playing soccer in the street.
The field is between Orlando East and Diepkloof and it us under the electric wires and there’s pole inside the field as well. The pole…. Like for the people who are familiar with the field it is not a problem.
On this field, (hee hee), many people are crossing the field, like mothers and fathers, grandparents, young ladies and sisters, even toddlers as well.
The other things that are happening on this field. People are using it for driving school, couples who want to spend quality time, like, horses they pass through, even the cows, sometimes. People passing, walking from one location to the other, maybe school kids walking to another location for the school. And obviously the soccer as well.
People are walking around with dogs, people are putting rubbish on the field, kids are playing with different kids of toys and they use anything for a football, kids are playing with tyres as well.
There is a tournament that is held here every Sunday. So teams, like some are teams, but some people are just friends who just know how to play soccer. On Sundays people are coming to watch soccer, some they are here to just buy drinks and food and just to enjoy themselves.
The importance of the soccer field in the community is to do different activities because all the locations in townships people are so nucleated. When they see a field it becomes a blessing to them to do whatever activity they want to do.
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