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Meet the soccer players of South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team and their leaders in the Cape Town community.

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Martin Africa grew up in Cape Town and lived on the streets since he was five years old.    After spending years in and out of prisons and gangs, Martin found out he had a son and needed to find a way out of a life of drugs and gangsterism.  In 2007, he attended trials for South Africa’s Homeless World Cup street soccer team. He was subsequently named captain of the 2008 team.
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Thapelo Kalpens grew up as an orphan , living in a youth home.  He’s a strong student and wants to attend college but is unsure of how to pay for tuition. He tried out for the Homeless World Cup team in hopes of gaining experiences and connections that would benefit his future. Thapelo made the team and was named vice-captain.

Sandile Mhlongo became an orphan when he was nine years old.  He grew up in a children’s shelter but when he turned eighteen, he was sent out to live on his own.  With no family or support, he ended up living on the streets.  He heard about trials for the Homeless World Cup team and stood out among the competition. Sandile was a top goal scorer for the 2008 Homeless World Cup team.
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Petros Nkomo, aka “Rasta,” grew up in Soweto and later moved to Cape Town.  He was an orphan at age seven and struggled to find stability for himself on the streets.  He spent some time in prison due to petty crimes and while he was there, he played soccer. He became an excellent goal keeper which made him an obvious choice for the 2008 team.

cropped images1David Abrahams is a community leader, focused on developing youth structures. He founded the Western Cape Street Soccer League in 2006, in preparation for the Homeless World Cup held that year in Cape Town.  He has since grown the league into the organization, South African Homeless Street Soccer (SAHSS) and works for the league on a volunteer basis.
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Peter Cooksen coached the 2008 Homeless World Cup team.  He works full time for organizations in the Atlantis community and volunteered for the South African Homeless Street Soccer League.  His coaching provided guidance to the players as they prepared to compete in Australia.
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Kgafela oa Magogodi
is a Spoken Word Poet and film scholar. He taught at the University of the Witwatersrand and was also a guest lecturer at New York University.    He has performed worldwide and was the first recipient of the Steve Biko Fellowship.  His work explores the social roles and media representation of Black intellectuals, as well as the significance of maintaining cultural practices to uphold a vibrant civil society.