Location: Cape Town, South Africa
AUDIO: Fighting xenophobia with soccer.
Rumours of possible xenophobic outbreaks in South Africa are keeping South Africa’s security agents vigilant. The parliament has even set up a ministerial committee to avoid a similar disaster to the one that rocked South Africa in 2008. However, an 18-year-old Zimbabwean refugee in Cape Town seeks to keep the hate attacks at bay using football. Davison Mudzingwa attended a soccer match organised to speak out against xenophobia.
CLIP 1: EPHRAIM—00:06”
Guys, we are here in South Africa, we don’t have our parents, we need to stay positive and focus on our education…education is the key to success…(applause from colleagues)
LINK: 18-year-old Emphraim Ntlamo has assumed the role of leader in his inner circle of friends. However, the Zimbabwean refugee living in Cape Town has taken the mission beyond his friends. He initiated a football tournament dubbed Kicking Out Xenophobia Campaign
CLIP 2: EPHRAIM—00:13”
When I came here in South Africa from Zimbabwe, I was homeless and I stayed at a shelter, locals used to make us…then I decided that if I form a football team we would know each other better so I formed Refugee VI, a football team made up with refugee children from Africa
LINK: Ntlamo, got assistance from a local non governmental organisation to run a tournament during the FIFA soccer world cup. Teams from various Cape Town communities, particularly informal settlements were xenophobia is rife, play against each other.
FX: SOCCER MATCH (Fade In, Play under) 00:10”
LINK: The idea to organise such a tournament came after the 2008 hate attacks against foreigners that left 60 people dead. Possible threats of such violence after this World Cup fuelled even more passion for the Refugee VI to continue with their concept.
CLIP: SOCCER PLAYERS TALKING..(Fade In, Play, Fade Out)00:05”
LINK: Jonathan Bashaya, a Congolese migrant who came to South Africa in 2004 describes basketball as his first love. However, the 21-year-old who lives off occasional work -shelved his first passion to join the Refugee VI soccer team. This, he says, was motivated by the 2008 attacks that are still fresh in his mind
Being part of this team is a first step I’m making to show that it’s happening in South Africa…we want show that we didn’t steal anybody’s wife or work
LINK: Bashaya is gratified by his contribution against xenophobia. He says since joining the team, he has been preaching the unity.
The first thing I told them is we are equal guys…we are a family
LINK: A group chat at half time resembles a family reunion. South African citizen Sazi Fikile, known by his peers as Rooney, due to his goal-scoring instinct, is happy to be part of this group.
Yha, we joke around, we have fun, I treat them like my brothers, we communicate well, we get along.
LINK: Reports about isolated xenophobia attacks in some parts of Cape Town sadden David Lee Beukes of the Life Church, a team the Refugee VI is playing against.
I’m really disappointed by fellow South Africans because it’s not fair towards our neighbours because we are welcoming the Europeans with open arms. I think we should do the same with our neighbours.
LINK: For Fikile, an aspiring Manchester United player, the lessons he has learned in the few weeks with the refugees team is something he can pass on to his fellow South Africans.
I can tell them that if you say these guys are taking jobs, then why don’t you get up and look for jobs, they are not here just to sit around…because these guys (refugees) look for jobs.
FX: PITCH SOCCER (Fade In, Play, Fade Out) oo:06”
LINK: As the match ends, the Refugees VI losing by two goals to one, Ntlamo tells me that results in the pitch don’t matter. For him and other refugees, they are focusing on the ultimate impact of the initiative.
The small things we make like playing this soccer match can make a smaller change
LINK: Whereas the South African government hope the World Cup will leave an economic legacy, Ntlamo, who wants to pursue human rights law after high school hopes for more: a hatred-free society.
We have used the World cup as a platform to raise this issue…we have a strong feeling that as the youth we can fight this issue of xenophobia, through football we can change.
For the TwentyTen Project I’m Davison Mudzingwa in Cape Town South Africa