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Parliament (22)

Patricia de Lille and Lance Greyling with team

The players returned home to South Africa this week.  While there were some bumps along the way, they are now all home, safe and sound.  Soon after they landed, they were invited to Parliament and were recognized by Patricia de Lille, the leader of the Independent Democrats political party.  Also, they were welcomed by Kgalema Motlanthe who served as President of South Africa between  September 25, 2008 and May 9, 2009, completing the second term of Thabo Mbeki. He currently serves as Deputy President of South Africa and of the African National Congress.

These leaders spoke of how proud they were of the team for representing South Africa in Milan and for bringing home the Milan Cup, which Martin Afrika presented to Deputy President Motlanthe while at Parliament.

Kgalema Motlanthe with the team

Kgalema Motlanthe with the team

Interviews for local news media

Interviews for local news media

Taryn Aveley, FUWL regional coordinator with 2009 team captain, "Mabuthi"

Taryn Aveley, FUWL regional coordinator with 2009 team captain, "Mabuthi"

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


SA Won!!!

Winners of the Milan Cup!

Winners of the Milan Cup!

South Africa is officially the winner of the 2009 Milan Cup!  This is the third division trophy and is a great victory for SA.  They played a fantastic final game against Malawi.  The crowds were chanting for South Africa, waving their flag–some of their friends from other teams even wore SA’s warm up suits in support of South Africa.  They played a focused and solid game and won 9-1.  It was a day to celebrate in Milan, completed by the first place Homeless World Cup victory, won by the Ukraine team.

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As the players head back to South Africa, the weight of unknown futures is heavy in the air.  Some go home to organizations or family members yet others head back unsure of what will come next.  The return from this amazing event is often challenging.  In a world and economy that is difficult for all, these men are no exception.  With trophy in hand and a deeper sense of self, they return to their home country to seek new opportunities for their futures.

I am daily overwhelmed and inspired by their resilient and hopeful spirits.  As we head back to the States, their presence will surely be missed.

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Milan-Cape Town (9)

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Winning Streak

South Africa has come back with a force!  Winning today against the USA and Romania, South Africa is going on to compete for the third division cup, playing against Malawi!  Tomorrow’s a big day….

Day 7 HWC Milan (6)

Day 7 HWC Milan (9)

Day 7 HWC Milan (3)

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Match Update!

Due to the outcome of several other team’s games yesterday, the South African team is still in the running for the first place Homeless World Cup trophy! Check back soon to see how they place!!!

–Christina Ghubril

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Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Day 4: Milan

Rushaad

Rushaad

Today was a challenging day on the field. Both the games against Kazakhstan and Hungary were lost. Kazakhstan doesn’t qualify to compete in the tournament so that game counts automatically as a win. However, the game against Hungary was a tough one. The teams were neck and neck up until the end. Both played a very strong game and the final score was 9-8 in favor of Hungary.

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The team was a bit bummed and bruised (Martin got knocked pretty hard in the face…) but even despite their losses, they quickly worked to support and encourage each other. We went out for gelato and their smiles and laughs had returned. Similar to last year, I believe this moment of loss was the moment where the significance of the Homeless World Cup was realized. Experiencing new things, realizing their value in the world and gaining inspiration and hope for their futures have become more significant than taking home the cup to South Africa.

Day 4 HWC Milan

The team also visited the South African Consulate in Milan and met Dr. Nomvuyo Nokwi, the Console Generale. She shared her story of migration from South Africa and encouraged the players to pursue opportunities for their futures.

Dr. Nokwe and Team

Dr. Nokwe and Team

We then spoke to Thapelo, last year’s team captain who helped coach this year’s team. He remembers experiencing these feelings of loss and encourages the team to keep their heads up and fully enjoy the rest of their time in Milan.

And….they’re still in high ranking for the second division tournament. Tomorrow they play Ghana and continue on to the second round semi-finals. Wish ‘em luck!

Gavin, SA's manager, enjoying gelato

Gavin, SA's manager, enjoying gelato

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Jitsvinger, Fruit Stands and Sandile

Fruit Crates in Stellenbosh

Fruit Crates in Stellenbosh

As our days in South Africa hint of ending soon, we are trying to capture all the missing pieces of this story.  Find all the voices that still need to be heard, get all the shots that are needed for a solid film.  It’s been a great few days for gathering some of the final elements of this project.

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Yesterday we left early to meet with Jitsvinger (translation: The Dope One), a Cape Town based hip hop artist who has gained international acclaim for his music.  Jits keeps all of his lyrics in his native tongue, Afrikaans.  Told that he needed to rap in English if he ever wanted to make it past his own community, he took it as a challenge to prove everyone wrong and be the first internationally recognized Afrikaans MC.  He has agreed to be one of the artists that appears in the film, adding to the texture and cultural landscape of this story on South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team.

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Jitsvinger

Also important to Jits is being a positive role model in his community.  After spending the day with Jits on his cousin’s fruit selling route, we followed him to his performance at the District 6 Museum, for a Freedom Day celebration (Freedom Day remembers South Africa’s first non-racial, democratic elections in 1994).  Along the fruit route, we learned about different communities and about the fruit selling industry from the folks who sell the “third-tier” fruit.  The “first-tier” is packaged and sent overseas to Europe, “second-tier” is packaged and sent to local grocery stores and “third-tier” fruit is gathered by local vendors and taken into the townships to sell to the community stands and shops there.  The people who sell this fruit take pride in their work and in the knowledge that they are bringing healthy food into their communities and that they are able to provide for their families without resorting to theft, drug dealing or other desperate means.

jitz-and-sandile-19jitz-and-sandile-15In between fruit stands and concerts we stopped by the University of Cape Town to interview Dr. Cathy Ward, graduate professor of Psychology.  Dr. Ward’s research is focused on issues of substance abuse and violence in local communities, particularly the ways in which it affects the lives of local youth.  She was a wealth of knowledge and insight and her input in the film is greatly appreciated.

Today we visited the trials for the 2009 Homeless World Cup.  Sandile was there, helping to coach the incoming players.  We caught up and shot an interview with him, hearing how life has been since he got back from Australia.  Full of ups and downs, he says.  It has been a mixed journey for Sandile but he is keeping his head up and his goals set.  I hold a great deal of hope for his story.

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Catching Up With Thapelo

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Today was a great day starting with an early rise and ending with an evening in Stellenbosch, sharing dinner with some friends.  It was lovely.  In between we spent the hours of the day with Thapelo, captain of the 2008 Homeless World Cup team.  It was so wonderful to catch up with him again and to spend some time together in Cape Town.

The day began in his new home.  He’s staying at a place in Woodstock now so he can be closer to the city and to the tutoring he’s getting at the University of Cape Town.  An incredibly smart and driven student, he didn’t get as good of scores as he hoped in his final math and science exams due to all his practicing for the Homeless World Cup. He is now spending this year with a tutor, preparing to retake the tests and get the scores he wants in order to ultimately begin studying at a university and pursue a degree in the engineering field.

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Thapelo's New Home

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The Study Corner

After visiting his home, we interviewed him in the park in his neighborhood.  There was a sports team practicing there and none of us knew exactly who they were but eventually Thapelo realized they were a team from Wits University and their captain was former Bafana Bafana football here, Eric Tinkler.  Mr. Tinkler was very gracious as Thapelo introduced himself as the captain of last year’s Homeless World Cup team and Thapelo took his picture with one of his heroes, which was really exciting!

Afterwards, Thapelo, Demetrius and I hopped a cable car to the top of Table Mountain for some beautiful shots on the top of this South African icon.  Thapelo told us about the coming of age ritual he will soon go through.  It is the Xhosa tradition for him to officially become a man and leave his boyhood behind.  There was something picturesque about him explaining leaving his childhood and beginning his new life with all of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean to be seen in the distance behind him, open to him.

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We are gearing up for tomorrow, the trials for the 2009 keeper (or goalie) for South Africa’s Homeless World Cup team.  Rumor has it, most of the guys from last year’s team will be there, Martin will be playing for his place on the 2009 team and the community will be rallying behind all of these guys.  Rasta, Sandile and Thapelo are offering their guidance as peer leaders/coaches.  I think it should be a pretty fantastic day.

Thapelo with Eric Tinkler

Thapelo with Eric Tinkler


Back in Cape Town

dsc_0012_2Demetrius and I are back in South Africa. It all happened in a whirlwind sort of fashion, and now here I am, sitting under the beautiful Cape Town sun ready to share about our last few days.

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It’s been a little over three months and we’re back to catch up with the players from the 2008 Homeless World Cup team as well as fill in some of the holes in the story of our documentary film. It’s always an adventure! Many exciting things have happened in the last few months. The film was officially titled “Street Ball,” which we are pleased about, and is in process of being edited from over 100 hours of footage into a 120 minute doc. Thapelo has moved into an apartment and started taking classes at the University of Cape Town, Riaan has started back at school and is doing very well, Martin is in the final round of trials for the 2009 Homeless World Cup team and Rasta, Sandile and Thapelo are helping to coach the 2009 team!

We recently met with the leaders of what was formerly the Western Cape Street Soccer League. They have spent the last few months developing what is now South African Homeless Street Soccer or SAHSS. Seeking to work around the year both with the members of the Homeless World Cup teams as well as to use street soccer as a preventative measure to keep kids off of the streets, SAHSS’s goal is to grow beyond the borders of Cape Town and partner with organizations around the country who use street football as a means to build relationships and life skills with street people. Ultimately, the aim is to have a team for the Homeless World Cup that represents the many communities in South Africa.

After meeting with SAHSS, we interviewed Cornelia Finch, the Manager of Social Development for the city of Cape Town. She works closely with SAHSS and was linked to the Western Cape Street Soccer League, as well. She joined the team for the 2008 Homeless World Cup in Australia to offer support to the players. It was great to have her input on how street soccer is a meaningful tool to reach street people here in South Africa and why it is a worthy cause to fund.

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Yesterday, Gavin and Ricardo, two men who work with SAHSS toured us around several neighborhoods in Cape Town that we had not previously visited and introduced us to many community leaders and organizations working with street people.  Gavin took us to an overlook in Khayalitcha and Ricardo showed us around Elsies River where we met local shop owners, activists, folks who work for the ANC’s office there as well as the woman and son duo who run Tehilla, a home for former street people.

Gavin

Gavin

Ricardo

Ricardo

With only a few days left in Cape Town, we are planning to pack in meetings with local News offices, professors, players, and coaches as well as gather some updated footage of locations, team trials, and iconic sites we have yet to capture on film. More videos with local artists are also on the agenda and then we’ll head to Knysna and Johannesburg to gather footage and stories there. All in the next two and a half weeks!


ETC Crew and The ARK


Soccer Stunts from South Africa Street Soccer Docum on Vimeo.

Yesterday, Demetrius and I spent the morning and early afternoon at The Ark, a community for individuals dealing with homelessness and/or addictions. It is a fenced in community in the township of Khayalitcha that has been around since the mid 80s and now has a full school, provides housing for families, men, women and children, offers rehabilitation programs, meals for the students, athletic and creative opportunities, as well as social gatherings. It is entirely volunteer led by individuals who have come through the programs and community there.  Riaan and Thapelo, two players on the Homeless World Cup team live at The Ark.

ETC Crew

ETC Crew

In the afternoon, we went to film the ETC Crew in their studio and captured three of their tracks. Demetrius  and I are excited to use this music and footage to support the rest of the story. I’d tell you how, but then you’d have nothing to look forward to….

This morning we got up and spent some time at the team’s practice. They are still down one man due to sickness, and Rasta, their keeper, has injured one of his thumbs and is a bit slower than usual. It is not looking promising that Martin will be able to go to Australia. The closer the Homeless World Cup gets, the less likely it is that the pieces will come together in time.

Riaan at Practice

Riaan at Practice

Tonight, we headed to Zula on Long Street for the ETC Crew’s show. The house was packed–we were on the second floor of the building and the floors were shaking as the crowd jumped and danced along with the crew. I can’t lie, there were moments where my mind drifted to pictures of the floor caving in and what kind of stories they’d tell my mother when the news hit. It was nothing but good energy, however, and the guys put on a great show. They have a solid following who are full of energy and excitement.

All in all, it’s been a great few days and we have a packed week coming up, as well. Stay tuned….


Uju


UJU Live from Christina Ghubril on Vimeo.

Today held the stories of a gorgeous rooftop video shoot overlooking Johannesburg, capturing the magic of one of South Africa’s fastest growing bands.  If you don’t know Uju, check them out, as I’m sure they will be bursting into the world at large in the next few years.  Their new album is in process and is even tighter than their last project.

Check out our collaboration above and have a beautiful day!

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Mosebetsi

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Returning to Jozi

The Mandela Bridge

The Mandela Bridge

Demetrius and I got up with the sun yesterday to get some establishing shots of Newtown.

We met up with world renowned performance poet, Kgafela, as well as several members from the band Uju. We will be filming videos with all of them for the documentary and connected to discuss details of their upcoming shoots.

Kgafela took us to the spot where he wants to film his videos. It is a maze of wide open space, raw, rough details. As part of the Africa Cultural Center it is a historic space that will soon be torn down and remodeled, so we’re excited to capture it before the “upgrade.”  Tomorrow’s shoot should be a fantastic first!

Afrika Cultural Center

Afrika Cultural Center