Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
AUDIO: How the World Cup impacted Hillbrow.
CUE: The 2010 FIFA World Cup has brought excitement to the residents of Johannesburg, especially to those in need who usually have nothing to look forward to. A few organisations teamed up as part of a nationwide initiative, called “The Ultimate Goal” to reach out to local communities during the World Cup. One of these outreaches is hosted in Hillbrow, an area ranked as the third most dangerous place globally. Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren reports.
FX – Kids dancing on “waka” song.
Hillbrow is one of the toughest, most dangerous neighbourhoods in Johannesburg. Alta Krige, an outreach coordinator for Youth with a Mission, or YWAM, confirms Hillbrow has a well earned reputation for crime amid the highest density living area in South Africa.
CLIP 0 – ALTA – HILLBROW 00”26
Many websites would describe Johannesburg as the most dangerous city in the world which that is not a war zone. There is very high violent crime numbers. Many of the children we are working with we know of circumstances with nine people living in one flat. Obviously where there are bad socio economic circumstances – drugs and alcohol abuse flourish.
Most South Africans usually steer clear of Hillbrow’s skyscrapers and narrow alleys. Yet, if you walk the streets of the area now, you will find it bustling with local residents, tourists, and security, all enjoying the spirit of the beautiful game.
LIP 1 – MORGAN GREW UP HILLBROW (00.38)
My name is Morgan Mahala, I grew up here from a young age. To be honest, I’m scared of walking in these streets. You get robbers and gangsters that do crime to pay the rent. But it has changed, improved now, during the world cup…
The organisation Metro Evangelical Services or MES has worked towards holistic sustainable development in the inner city of Johannesburg since 1986. During the World Cup Alta says MES have partnered with other organisations such as YWAM, the Salvation Army and local churches.
CLIP 3 – ALTA – LOCAL COMMUNITIES 00:26
“I think everyone was very excited about the international community and fans coming, but because we regularly work in the inner city of Johannesburg, it was really important to us to reach the local communities around Ellispark and to involve them in the festivities. We wanted to give the children a safe place to stay, and create a safe haven where people can enjoy the festivities although they won’t necessarily be able to go to the matches.”
The Irene church, on the corner of End and Beit Street, is the hub where all of this is taking place. Visitors can enjoy performances of local groups while volunteers look after children in a safe environment. The manager of Youth Development and Outreach Coordinator at MES, Japie Krige, says they also host big screen events at some of the residential buildings where most residents don’t have television sets.
CLIP 4 – JAPIE – EXCITEMENT
“Getting people excited about something is already something in South Africa. I haven’t seen the people in Joburg as excited as I have seen them during the world cup and this is definitely something that is beneficial to our outreach”
Japie says the World Cup has come at a time where most of the inner city residents have lost hope in making a decent life for themselves and their families.
CLIP 5 – JAPIE – DIFFICULT LIVING CONDITIONS
“Very few people are actually born and raised in Johannesburg. Most of them come to Joburg looking for jobs and wealth. Sometimes they do find a security work, but the buildings they live in are dilapidated and run down. Families are living five people in one living room, children have to do their homework in that same room, and it’s very difficult for them to stay positive in that environment”.
One of the local residents and dancers performing at the church, a seventeen year old girl, Faith Phiri, also agrees that the World Cup outreach has a positive influence.
CLIP 6 – FAITH 17-YEAR OLD GIRL 00.16
“Where I come from, right, there are streetkids, robbers, thieves and stuff, but looking from what we have done now, it seems like, from my point of view, the crime rate has went down. It’s really working this outreach thing”.
Faith says the World Cup gives children who usually spend their days on the street something constructive to do.
CLIP 7 – FAITH – STREET KIDS 00.14
“Looking from within the streets, many of the children are at the Hillbrow theatre and they are performing for tourists. If they are not in the theatre, they are at the stadium. It is just so quiet and peaceful now.”
Fx – music
Although Faith lives in harsh circumstances, she is still a patriotic ambassador for her country.
CLIP 8 – FAITH – SOUTH AFRICA 00.10
“South Africa is a nice place. It’s just some places that are not good, but there are people that want to participate in doing good, and there are people that do good.”
Morgan Mahala, the leader of the dance group in which Faith performs, hope that Hillbrow can set an example for other similar South African communities.
CLIP 2 – MORGAN – WORLD CUP CHANGED 00.13
“The World Cup really did help us. I think God gave us this opportunity to express ourselves and show that people from Hillbrow don’t just do drugs and crime – there is actually hope for us. Hillbrow has improved and I hope people will see a better future for South Africa in Hillbrow.”
Both MES and YWAM will continue their involvement with the community after the World Cup has left our shores. Alta believes that many of the initiatives which they have launched will be sustainable.
CLIP 8– ALTA 00.22
“A much smaller scale of this outreach has indeed been running since 2000 where we had volunteers coming in for a week every July. We hope in future to keep it up on this scale. To have people coming to Joburg during their holiday to invest in the city. Johannesburg has an amazing vibrancy of creativity – there is so much to offer here.”
And in the end Japie and Alta are really thankful for the opportunities soccer has created for their outreach.
CLIP 9 – ALTA – LOVE OF SOCCER
“The world cup has opened doors into the communities and the love of soccer has reached people that could not normally be reached. And has brought people close who would not normally come”.
Fx music bridge
The Johannesburg Inner city outreach forms part of “The Ultimate Goal”, a countrywide soccer outreach initiative. I am Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren, reporting for 2010 in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.
This report was compiled by Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren for Twenty-Ten.