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July 20, 2009

Soccer safari: part one

This week, I went on a Coffeebeans Routes’ soccer safari. It was an awesome experience. We visited three soccer sites in the city, exploring the sport’s history and culture in Cape Town.

We started on Signal Hill, looking down on Green Point Stadium (Cape Town’s 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium), took a tour of South African Premier Soccer League team Ajax Cape Town’s base and ended at the training camp of the South African Homeless Street Soccer team.

This will be a three part photo essay, as I took quite a few images and thought it would be best to describe the day through my photographs.

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We were picked up by the driver, Jacques, and Vincent, our soccer fundi for the day. As it was a wintery Cape Town day, a soft misty cloudy lay very low over the city, obscuring our view of Green Point from our first stop, Signal Hill. This didn’t stop us from admiring the view while Vincent gave a brief history of the Green Point Common and how it was once the central soccer location in Cape Town. We spent a few minutes considering how far we have progressed, from the segregated, racial leagues of the time to being welcomed back on the international stage by world soccer body FIFA.

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Our next stop was the District Six Museum in Buitenkant Street. This is an interesting building for me, as I remember it differently to most: this building was once the home of Sax Futeran, a textile company that my mother frequented when I was a child. Even though it has been transformed, my memories ran rampant as the smell of the wooden floors hurled me back in time to when I was five years old and the cashier lady would give me a red lollipop when my mom completed her purchase.

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In a sense, for me, the District Six Museum is the perfect place for remembrance and a space to appreciate the memories of the joy soccer brought to so many.

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This trophy case brought a smile to my face as I thought about the joy these awards must have brought to their winners. The beauty of sport is how it creates a sense of camaraderie in challenging times, motivating people to strive to do their best and overcome these challenges.

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It’s a joy to read the old newspaper clippings and see the pride in the smiles of the players in the group pictures. There is even a picture of Eric “Scara” Sono, former Bafana Bafana coach Jomo Sono’s father.

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I had to smile when I saw this; I’m guessing it’s a bit tongue in cheek, because calling yourself the “Happy Darkies” in the Sixties was quite ballsy, if you ask me!

Aslam Levy is an eMarketing Coordinator at Cape Town Tourism, you can view his personal blog here.

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