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Our Soweto Pitch

Samantha Reinders/Twenty Ten

Location: Soweto, South Africa

You don’t have to go very far in South Africa to come across a dusty scrap of land that has been converted into a soccer pitch by the locals. Whether on the side of the road, in a vacant parking lot, or, in this case, crammed between two suburbs in Soweto, the football field is as necessary for community life as the local shop or tavern.

Soweto is the largest township in the country, and vastly over-populated. Despite this, there is somewhere for the men to kick a ball around, even if they have to negotiate the electricity pole in the middle of the pitch.

Not only is the field used for soccer, it is also a space for both young and old members of the community to gather. It doubles as a children’s playground, a place to do exercise, a field for teaching people to drive and a meeting place for local church groups.

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Transcript as narrated by Teezer Mokoto, Soweto, South Africa:

The field, its not even. It’s dusty and too bumpy. But it’s the field that we use everywhere in Soweto. Most of the fields are like that. But we enjoy playing on such fields soccer, than playing on the grass. Because another thing…People don’t want to grass this field. They just want it dusty.

The soccer field is important in a community like this because soccer is the most popular sport in South Africa. And mostly the location we are staying in produces a lot of soccer...

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