Football is the major sport for 80% of the township youth. Many of them borrow boots, share boots or play barefoot.
During the World Cup, Volunteers Direct tried to take advantage of the generosity of the international football supporters coming to Cape Town by organising a friendly game at Camps Bay Football Club, the proviso to enter as a player being that the players donate football boots to the township kids of Imizano Yetho in Hout Bay.The venue is across the road from the white sands of Camps Bay beach, and the date was set for 18 June the day of England’s game in Cape Town. After promoting our event on
TripAdvisors World Cup forums we managed to get participants from Australia, India, Argentina, Ireland, South Africa and of course England. In fact the team from the North of England won an exciting match 3-2.
More importantly, the fans were fantastic with their donations – approximately 80 pairs of football boots and training shoes – some brand new – and about 40 Premier League team shirts including a Manchester United shirt signed by Ruud van Nistelerooy.
We had taken 12 township kids (yes, in the back of my bakkie ) to interact with the visitors and a couple, including our “professional “ Lulu, played in the game. They were treated to cokes and a meal, and then a group of 6 put on their Gumboot dance which had our overseas visitors in stitches. To round off the event we brought in the Township Xhosa choir who sang traditional songs and the National Anthem.
A great day and generous fans spoiled only by England’s inept display later.
I must also say thanks to other fans who couldn’t make the game but who brought football boots to the township in Hout Bay Cape Town, including Finbarr from Galway who brought about 20 pairs.
It goes to show there is huge goodwill out there – it is just a matter of harnessing it correctly.