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June 24, 2009 Permalink

Soccer in South Africa

South Africa is currently hosting the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, an international soccer tournament held every four years. The Confederations Cup is regarded as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also hosted by South Africa - the first World Cup to be held in Africa. Expectations are high as preparations, stadium construction and planning for both tournaments have recently picked up pace. With soccer fever sweeping through the country, you'll find here some recent scenes of South Africans enjoying football as both participants and fans. (28 photos total)

Children play soccer in a field in Erasmia township on June 23, 2009 in Erasmia, South Africa. (Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

135 comments so far...

nr 24 is an absolute briljant shot ! What a great timing ! THANX !!!

gteetz from the Netherlands, your friends.

Posted by Gerhard Taatgen (Netherlands) June 24, 09 11:44 AM

Nice picture :P

Posted by Supat Sutti June 24, 09 11:55 AM

As always, brilliant photographs.

However, I really wish The Big Picture images had their EXIF data intact - or at least a subset of the most important EXIF data shared. (Like Camera Model, Lens, Focal Length, Exposure bias and shutter speed)

This will not only give everyone a little insight into how these brilliant pictures are taken, but also strengthen the image of this website as one that embodies the spirit of sharing.

Posted by Zubin June 24, 09 11:57 AM

1, 14, 18 and 28 are superb, really awesome!
If #24 was taken remotely, it do not have the same bright! ;)

Posted by Luciano Stabel June 24, 09 11:58 AM

Another series of good photography...
#14 -- BEST among the bests!!!!

Posted by Ujjal Dey June 24, 09 12:00 PM

The stadium in #6 and the building in #7 are so similar in appearance!

Great stuff as usual!

Posted by Edward S. Marshall June 24, 09 12:12 PM

Essas fotos demonstram não só a mobilização que esta copa está proporcionando no país, mas também uma nova fase e perspectiva para estas pessoas. Fotos fenomenais!

Posted by James Gabebers June 24, 09 12:14 PM

@3, The Big Picture does not take the pictures. It posts photos from the agency wires. If there is no EXIF left on, there is nothing Big Picture can do.

Very Nice.

Posted by Peter June 24, 09 12:34 PM

Nice to see images of some happy people in Africa for a change.

Posted by Quatguy June 24, 09 12:37 PM

I thought at first that No. 15 was from a professional game ...

Posted by sc June 24, 09 12:40 PM

GREAT! I just loved #28,#14 and #17...
thanks for the great work!

Posted by alberto June 24, 09 01:06 PM

this makes me puke...such a waste of money thrown to the God football in a country where hospital budgets have reduced or hospital projects cancelled.
Shame on the FIFA clowns, corrupt maybe, to have chosen such a country.
I know, it is going to create jobs, it is going to give African people some pride, it brings people together (well choose carefully your fans then).
Jobs for a while and then what? Short sighted politicians again. Sick and dying people will be proud to sacrifice their lives because of lack of basic treatments for some national pride, sure.
One thing I oike about football is that a lot of women are free for a few weeks, stupidly abandonned by their brainless partners slouching with pizzas and beers. New illegal love affairs will start...At least some fresh and bright genes might pass through...
I guess I'm making new friends again....

Posted by ben June 24, 09 01:14 PM

#13 and #14 are the best. Look at the joy they have in their eyes.
They dont have new and best equipment but they are enjoying. We have to learn that.

Posted by Faraz Syed June 24, 09 01:20 PM

#24. Talk about a Decisive Moment!

Decisive Moment:

Posted by Breck June 24, 09 01:21 PM

:) !!!!!

Posted by Zander June 24, 09 01:29 PM

so many kids w/o shoes! if only there were a way for every child with more than one pair to give their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. pairs to a kid in South Africa...

Posted by tamra June 24, 09 01:36 PM

#14 is AMAZING!

Posted by YES June 24, 09 01:37 PM

Great juxtaposition between 6 and 7 - cutouts as part of new construction and cutouts due to neglect and decay. Great to know that kids everywhere still love to make faces for cameras (#19).

Posted by Banstyle June 24, 09 01:38 PM

Awesome #11!! Well done.

Posted by Elizabeth June 24, 09 01:41 PM

I have a rosey picture of South Africa. But I was let down by this series of pictures. :( We want more Iranian protest pictures.

Posted by John June 24, 09 01:54 PM

Yeah I agree that #14 is the best. #24 is like the second base shot in baseball or an armpit shot in basketball. #14 is by far the best one in the bunch. It flooded my brain with memories.

Posted by Luis Sanchez Saturno June 24, 09 02:02 PM

Its football, not soccer, i.e. a game played by using a foot to kick a ball.

Posted by John June 24, 09 02:16 PM

Don't u just wanna buy them a new soccer ball?!
And give them a bath.. hhahahah

Posted by Mona June 24, 09 02:16 PM

Lovely pictures

Posted by Thato June 24, 09 02:30 PM

Awesome I can say ! I've not missed a single post after Jan 2009 !

Posted by Vijay Alwar June 24, 09 02:39 PM

las fotos estan con ganas appreciate these images

Posted by mexicano June 24, 09 02:40 PM

Truly the world's sport.

Posted by Anonymous June 24, 09 03:01 PM

Great, as always!

Posted by dip June 24, 09 03:13 PM

Great images!
Thank you!

Posted by Nick Sushkevich June 24, 09 03:16 PM

15 & 28 are great pics!

Posted by Apoelistas June 24, 09 03:25 PM

great pictures!!

A typo in #13 caption : enjoy (not enjopy)

Posted by meg June 24, 09 03:31 PM

I loved the pic of the 4 shoes (#21) and also #15, passion!! - when it comes to obsession nothing beats a bunch of scruffy kids and a futball, nothing!

Made me wish I was there too To do it all again, somehow differently,,,

Posted by cdkeli June 24, 09 03:57 PM

It seems a pity that these pictures inspired by a major football tournament should overwhelmingly be pictures of cute kids having a kick-about, with so few shots of the actual matches, the stadia, and the fans.

Posted by Harry June 24, 09 04:25 PM

Besides being nice pics the actual story to me is:
1. VERY poor people.
2. Money used to build a stadium that should have been used to uplift them.
3. Empty stadiums not able to pay back the money it took to build the stadiums which were meant to uplift the poor people.


Posted by Bobby June 24, 09 04:36 PM

I take it that most of the comment like " poor africans" and "poor people" and rubbish are made by people who have not bee so South Africa yet? with out those townships and poor people we probably would not have won the bid for the world cup anyway. South Africa got the sympathy vote from a bunch of ill informed Europeans.
As for the pics great photography but I am sorry to inform you that they do not represent South Africa or its people, that poverty is due to a mismanaged government and corruption and I find the comment to the picture offensive because it belittles the African people in to looking primative and uneducated.

Posted by Shipo Matabane June 24, 09 05:09 PM

Linda fotos !

Posted by Giovanna June 24, 09 05:10 PM

A great series of photographs, although lacks some variety. The first and last pictures are basically the same. Scenes of township kids playing soccer are nice and all, but there is much more happening across SA as we prepare to host this major event. Host cities are transforming, many new stadia are under development (, transport infrastructure is undergoing a major upgrade, not to mention all the preparations happening behind the scenes. Next time...

Posted by coda June 24, 09 05:16 PM

#4, looks like Beijing's Bird's Nest.

Posted by David June 24, 09 05:19 PM

#18 just won my heart.

Posted by Cess007 June 24, 09 05:59 PM

You don't need hundreds of millions of dollars for good soccer. These kids and people have proven it. It is the world game, and a great one.

There is a future.

Posted by HT June 24, 09 06:37 PM

Hopefully the World Cup brings enough foreigners to South Africa for them to appreciate all that South Africa has to offer and see the great amount of hope that lies in the hearts of the people.

Posted by Luke June 24, 09 06:58 PM

I wasn't blessed when I was a kid. We used to patch up old balls and pay soccer. Most of the time, it wasn't a round ball. :-)
And bare foot, of course.

Posted by sriraj June 24, 09 07:43 PM

#5 Is it just me or does the interior of the stadium look really wonky?

Posted by GK June 24, 09 07:50 PM

Great photos, as always. I love your sequencing, and the symmetry of the opening and closing shots in this series.

Also, thanks for enabling Cool Iris! (for those who don't know what it is, visit ) Cool Iris makes viewing TBP even better, which until now I hadn't realized was possible. :-)

Posted by jcdill June 24, 09 07:58 PM


This in a Boston Globe website, and therefore they use the American-English term soccer rather than football. The logic behind your statement is clear to all Americans, but that does not change our colloquial diction.

Posted by WS1776 June 24, 09 08:18 PM

#24 is awesome!!
great set you have here!

Posted by jomanalo June 24, 09 09:20 PM

please give photos on bigpictures with exif, please :(, i wanna learn about photography and check exif on your grat photos, because there 3/4 are really very professional!

Posted by Adam June 24, 09 09:26 PM

@16 These kids all have shoes. The ones that are playing barefoot are doing so by choice.

@34 There are poor people all over the world including the USA and Europe. Why is nothing ever said about the money spent towards building and renovating stadia in these countries? Do the poor deserve any less in those countries?

@35 and @37 Well said.

Posted by IL June 24, 09 10:04 PM

comment #48 has no idea what he is talking about....

sure thing is, these boys have only a pair of shoes.... and mom told them to take care of it....

Posted by andresv June 24, 09 11:39 PM

all are wondering images)))

good jobs!

Posted by SEO Chandru June 25, 09 12:39 AM

The last one is so epic! Loved the photos :)

Posted by Ranajay June 25, 09 01:11 AM

Nice photography as always!
But you wouldn''t want to attend the 2010 World Cup in South Africa its way too dangerous in terms of muggings & assaults etc etc,Unless they clean there act up 100%!!!!

Posted by rodney June 25, 09 01:28 AM

Not soccer but football plz ;)

greetings from Poland

Posted by football_player June 25, 09 02:07 AM

soccer ? its called football rite ?

Posted by sha June 25, 09 02:43 AM

@22 - soccer's just fine, don't split hairs...mind you, if we're splitting hairs, the fact that this is an American site shows in the caption to 24: 'South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune fails to catch a ball shot by Spanish forward Fernando Llorente...'
Just 'Fails to catch a shot' please...

Posted by Anonymous June 25, 09 02:50 AM

Nice photos, special appreciation for Photo #14 .. that' looks great

Posted by Rakesh Sivan June 25, 09 02:56 AM

Funny visual correlation between numbers 6 & 7.

Posted by Beamstream June 25, 09 03:40 AM

I love the contrast (new stadium and the old complex) of photos 6 and 7

Posted by June 25, 09 03:48 AM

These are some great pics! Reminds me of my childhood.

(yes, I am from/in South Africa)


Thanks so much!

Posted by PaperCut June 25, 09 04:15 AM

These pictures are great, but I feel like you've missed out on an entire section of South Africa. Whether you've done it on purpose or not I'm not sure, but not all areas in South Africa are filled with shacks and poor children with no shoes. Sure poverty is a huge problem and there are many many people who live in sub-standard conditions, but there is another side to South Africa, where there are houses, and shopping centres, parks, beaches, mansions, coffee shops and cinemas.

Perhaps you chose to only focus on poor black children because it's a side that many international visitors would not be familiar with. It would be interesting to hear your response and reasoning.

Posted by Matt June 25, 09 04:22 AM

Nice photo's.

...but why is that when ever there are pics of South Africa, its always of some township (informal settlement) ... there's really a lot more to Africa than rural areas. Tourists who go to South Africa are going to be in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, which are very much 1st world cities in a 3rd world country. So while these photo's show how a vast majority of South Africans live, they also don't show what living in Johannesburg is really like??

I just feel like when it comes to Africa, photojournalists deliberately try and find the dingiest, dirtiest parts or the poorest of the poor to "showcase" to the world, while staying in 5 Star hotels. I think this is very unfair.

Posted by Gary Meyer June 25, 09 04:32 AM

Some awesome photos here, just a not on #4: Soccer City is not a new stadium, but rather a (major) refurbishment of the older FNB stadium.

Posted by johan June 25, 09 04:52 AM

Its football, not soccer, i.e. a game played by using a foot to kick a ball.
Love that! Has been my argument for years.

My absolute favourite photo series so far, I am not much of a sports fan but these photos are not about soccer really, the ball could just be a uniting theme of what sport, art and literature can do to get people together without causing a fight (mostly)

I hope that the world cup does some good to this city. Jo'burg is one dangerous place and they do need more money spent on hospitals, schools, police, kids shoes etc.

Let this be the push in the right direction, and for all the whining comments posted up there... quit grumbling and look on the positive side of these photos, the glass is half full!

Posted by Solange June 25, 09 05:00 AM

very brillant

Posted by GLENSCOLAN June 25, 09 05:13 AM

"Where's Wally?"

Posted by Jack June 25, 09 05:14 AM

Hey, took me a while but I found one girl on those pix. Yes, yes, on the #15.

Posted by Dragib June 25, 09 05:15 AM

Absolutely awesome. These pics really capture some poignant moments - and the huge love of football that exists in South Africa! Yes, there is poverty. Yes, there are problems. And yes!!! Football does unite and build!!! I'm not a football fan at all - but just L-O-V-E what this opportunity is doing for our beautiful country!

Posted by Elee June 25, 09 05:17 AM

Great pics, but yes, not indicative of South Africa in general and illustrates the photographer's bias. Yes, there are plenty of poor areas in South Africa, but South Africa's economic power is nothing to be sniffed at and there is also lots of wealth here. There are kids in private schools being driven to their soccer games in ostenatious 4x4s and sports cars, dressed in all the latest and most expensive gear... and of all races.
The Soccer World Cup is not just a waste of money. It creates a MASSIVE global advertisement for our country and thus will reap billions of dollars in future toruist revenue, not to mention the infrastructure gains such as roadworks being improved etc. Even our television broadcasters are moving to HD broadcasting due to FIFA requirements.
Additionally, you obviously know nothing about SA if you think these stadia will not be used after the Word Cup. We are one of the best sporting nations in the world - Rugby World Cup Winners, our cricket team is consistently one of the best and our local soccer is also massively popular. We are a sporting nation. In fact, our stadia will most probably be used more than most other host countries previously.
These pictures only give a tiny snapshot as to what South Africa is like. I could easily come to any country in the world and go take pics of scruffy kids kicking a football about. ANY country. Anyway, please go and check out:

Here you will find out everything you need to know about South africa.

Posted by Rob Dickens June 25, 09 05:33 AM

Great photo's, however I agree with Shipo Matabane that your pictures are not a true representation of our great country. I found it very strange that foreign journalist always focus on the bad and poor of our country and continent. Show to the world photos of modern day South Africa, about all our different cultures.
Stop using the slogan "bad news is good news".

We are a rich country and some of the world's richest people call this home.
These stadiums were not planned, build or funded by the "poor Africans" but by us normal South African's. We are very much like you who live in proper big brick houses, own a car or two, etc.

No wonder that when the tourists come here they find South Africa is more first world than they thought it is, and many other Southern African countries are the same.

Posted by Gerrit June 25, 09 05:34 AM

Well!!! Arm chair social scientists always amuse me, especially when commenting on Africa. #12 needs some educating on African issues and international trade issues. Overall, nice novel pics, but do not mirror a true representation of contemporary South African Society. my I too should walk around the slums of New York during the Superbowl with a camera and claim that it's art. Such Ignorance!

Posted by Philani June 25, 09 05:40 AM

- "So many children without shoes"? Go to a swimming gala and say "So many people without clothes". Children here (whites, coloureds, indians as well, though you'd NEVER say that there was anything other than blacks in South Africa from the above photos) play barefoot.

- Pay South Africa a visit! Believe it or not, it's not all townships and lions... You'd be surprised. I've had visitors comparing it to any European country (having just arrived from Paris).

- @9: I agree. For once there are no photos of Aids, crime and hunger. Though it does happen, OBVIOUSLY, it's good to see something else for a change.

Corny photos, but awesome none the less. It's not a "big picture of South African soccer", but they're great photos.

Posted by James June 25, 09 06:05 AM

Beautiful stuff. No14 is just perfect. Good to see an American website pick up on the Confeds Cup, too. Congrats for not having your head in the sand. I'm sure beating Spain in the semi-final has helped raise awareness :)

Posted by foraggio June 25, 09 06:10 AM

I am a born and bred South African, and these pictures do not tell the truth!

But from what I have noticed the poor suburbs make an excellent backdrop for photographers and documentaries about South Africa.
For those interested google
- Sandton, South Africa
-Cape Town
-Pretoria etc etc

Posted by Johan June 25, 09 06:18 AM

I'm from Johannesburg and will be in Boston during August 2009- June 2010. I will obviously be reading the Boston Globe when I'm there. I hope that there will be a more balanced view to South Africa on your pages in time to come.

Posted by Fatima June 25, 09 06:26 AM

All in action photographs are amzing !

Posted by Amit June 25, 09 07:54 AM

While I could produce photos that showed poor kids in far worse conditions these pictures are not balanced and do not show what is being done for sport in poorer areas of South Africa. They seem designed to show a contrast that is there but is a one sided view and while I would like to see more being done on all fronts in my country everything is progressing in a positive way. These pictures only tell you about a small part of South African life but then when did balance ever sell news!

Posted by Claude June 25, 09 08:46 AM

Fantastic pics of the people of South Africa. Hopefully images like these will inspire more Americans to make the trip for 2010.

Americans have already bought the most tickets out of any nation so soccer or football, I dont care... lets meetup in 2010!

Posted by Chifundo June 25, 09 09:08 AM


Great photos man....the pictures of there kids playing soccer reminds me of me and my friends when we were young.
We were playing in the same dusty roads like this kids!!!!

Posted by Siya Dube June 25, 09 10:07 AM

especially 14

Posted by sumit June 25, 09 10:07 AM

great pics, but the funny thing is we actually have WHITE kids in SA playing soccer too! No jokes!

These images smack of feel good sentiment when they don't really represent half of what the game is about. There are poor white kids too. Who enjoy the game. It's one of our national sports, all are welcome!

Posted by Wowzer June 25, 09 11:24 AM

Speaking as a professional photographer, I personally wouldn't even have considered using Pic 24. Why ? It's not sharp

Posted by Peter Kelly June 25, 09 12:11 PM

Finally some story telling in a series of photographs. These photos come together perfectly. Well seen. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Boston Photographer - June 25, 09 12:21 PM


"Fails to catch a ball shot"

I would think he didn't fail to catch it, but rather tried to AVOID a ball shot! :-)

Posted by James June 25, 09 12:28 PM

>>Its football, not soccer, i.e. a game played by using a foot to kick a ball.

Then the name of the sport should be Kickball then, right?

Posted by Jordan June 25, 09 01:14 PM

John, author of post 22, you should complain to the South Africans, as well, for they have named their showcase stadium Soccer City. You should also complain to the Irish Independent newspaper because just yesterday I read of the US win in its "soccer" report. While you're at it, why don't you sort out the publishers of England's international association football magazine, World Soccer?

The photos are outstanding, by the way.

Posted by Aggromerchant June 25, 09 01:24 PM

# 13 shows all the joy of playing soccer! There it is, you can see in their faces!
Thanks for all the nice pictures.

Posted by in-perspective June 25, 09 01:42 PM

Beautiful country,I am so proud of my country we have come a long way to be here today. Gugu

Posted by Gugu Dube June 25, 09 03:57 PM

Awesome pics. I hope everyone reading this not from SA gets that we're a normal country held down by a mostly corrupt government!

Posted by Muzi June 25, 09 05:40 PM

oh no, not another photo journalist who seeks out the ghetto to show the world how kak South Africa is with all its poor black kids!

Come to SA, there are white people here too! The people with the most buying power currently in SA is the black working class!

This opportunity for SA in the form of hosting the world cup 2010 is awesome! Our corrupt government spends billions on improving infrastructure! Its much needed!

Posted by nippelneus June 25, 09 06:12 PM

Whether it was on purpose or not, this paints a picture of poverty and dispair that the west loves to portray all africans being in. The reality is that South Africa is a first world country and these photos in isolated backwater villages do not show that. Its like going through the ghettos of the US and taking pictures of black kids playing basketball and saying its the big picture of basketball in the US.

Also its called football. Just pointing out.

Posted by James June 25, 09 07:32 PM

If people would notice, these images were made by several different photographers. Jumping on "the photographer" or "another photojournalist" for deliberately showing a skewed view of South Africa is simply wrong.

in addition, why assume any collection of photos is obligated to meet someone else's defintion of balanced?

I've lived in southern Africa and have spent a fair amount of time in South Africa, especially Johannesburg. It's a beautiful vibrant place with beautiful vibrant people. Sure, economic differences are apparent to anyone who chooses to see, but that's just evidence that you can't undo centuries of oppression in a couple of decades.

Posted by justcorbly June 25, 09 07:36 PM

Yes - this definitely is such a skewed picture of our country .... I'm a white South African and I think these pictures are all truly brilliant, but people who know nothing about our country, would think that there are no white people living here .... in fact - there are about 5 million of us, but we are not shown anywhere in this photo tribute. And another thing is that these pictures also imply that all black people (and ONLY black people) are poor .... that is SO not true !! It is no wonder that when I lived in Europe for a few years, people wouldn't believe me if I said that I came from South Africa .... their comments would be "but it is a country of black people" .... then I always had to explain that the white population is quite big, but you just never see any of them being shown on TV news, in pictures etc. .... no wonder the white people of SA are all leaving the country ... there is nothing left here for us as a nation ... our identity is completely being killed off ..... and that after we are now suppose to be a rainbow country of people who all get an equal chance in this country ... :-(

Posted by Sayuri June 26, 09 04:04 AM

@ 54 - it's 'right' and not 'rite' right?

Posted by I hate txt speak June 26, 09 04:13 AM

stunning pictures!

Posted by Pamela June 26, 09 04:53 AM

I too am South African and agree with all the above comments of this not being an accurate depiction of our steadily growing and proud nation.
Furthermore, the notion of this being a waste of money is naive and ignorant. If that money were to be handed out to individuals the reach would be far less than the job creation and months of continual employment this opportunity has provided.
There are some bizarre views on our country and indeed I suspect utter ignorance is to blame.
SA is a beautiful nation with heaps to offer the world and our poverty is steadily improving!

PS. Stunning images! even if they may be a one-sided representation.

Posted by Stuart June 26, 09 07:46 AM

@94 yes, that's right... LOL :D

Posted by SoccerFreak June 26, 09 08:46 AM

People, it's a photo essay from one person's point of view; not a social commentary.

I really liked Photo #15. Reminded me of my childhood in Tucson. Hot, dusty and hugely fun; including the occasional arguements with my buddies.

Posted by William C June 26, 09 09:37 AM

Very nice pictures. Nice.

Posted by Alex Saikovsky June 26, 09 09:46 AM


Posted by June 26, 09 11:21 AM

great pictures.!! why call these kids poor? . these pictures are about the passion and the joy of football. i know they might have other shoes which they do not bring to the fields to play in, they actually look happier than many kids in the first world nations, who have many pairs onf shoes..oh nows its about shoes..

Posted by Crimson_Zebra June 26, 09 11:34 AM

The photos are great, but sadly it only reflect on poor children playing soccer. Certainly it's not just the poor that plays soccer in South Africa.

Posted by Willie June 26, 09 09:47 PM

No. 12's comment above is one of ignorance & stupidity! The fact that you call it football, when in South Africa we refer to it as SOCCER, proves the fact that you have probably never put a foot in our country, and hopefully, never will. People like you, who are eaten up with jealousy, should not comment about matters you are clearly clueless about! South Africa, like any other country, deserves the honour to host this huge soccer event. South Africa may be referred to as 3rd world, but we certainly possess 1st world knowledge, ability and power to be a force to be reckoned with. Ignorant persons like you should do your homework before opening your big mouth, and find out what South Africa and it's people are really all about.

Posted by Proud SouthAfrican June 27, 09 05:58 PM

Great set of pics.Why are their only two girls shown playing soccer in all these photos?

Posted by Marc Brown June 28, 09 10:10 AM

..crazy for soccer...
i like pic #13, really!!!
im lokking forward the world championship in 2010...
that will be great...i such á soccer addicted country like that..

Posted by cas June 28, 09 04:54 PM

Same question as #103. Why aren't there any other girls? I only saw one, and I don't think she was playing. Truly sad if only boys play soccer/football in South Africa.

Posted by Alice June 29, 09 01:09 PM

I agree with my fellow Africans' opinions above.

This photo essay is load of opportunistic crap - some journo goes to Africa and finds the darkest, dirtiest place he can find in order to portray the same old stereotype of grinding poverty and disease.

Generally speaking, you have good essays in this blog, but this one has certainly fallen far below par.

Posted by Bob Sacamano June 29, 09 04:21 PM

In Brasil we call those informal matches among friends "pelada".

That´s the same word used for naked woman.

Posted by Vitor Malheiros June 29, 09 10:59 PM

Great pics!

Posted by Paula Gonck June 30, 09 06:15 PM

Remarkable: the first and the last pic are clearly showing the same two kids playing football.......only the ball has no air in it in pic 1, looking at the last pic the ball is perfectly round with lots of air in it...:-) far for spontanious photography......

Still very nice pics of people, even though they have far less then us, that are smiling and anjoying themselves....

Posted by Ronnie-from-Holland July 1, 09 04:14 AM

Your photographer didn't get around much. In fact if you were familiar with the geography of the place you'd realise that all these pics were taken in about a ten kilometer square area. This is such a narrow view of all the activity surrounding the World Cup. It's this type of stereotypical view that perpetuates 'western' views of Africa being a downtrodden and desperate continent. Bit of overkill when it comes to the little kid playing football in the dust. Got it the first time. If you want the whole picture you need to brief your photographer to get out and about a bit.

A lost opportunity to all of us who are really proud of what we're achieveing.

Posted by carl July 1, 09 07:21 AM

Looking at these pics, I can truly say I'm proud to be South African :-) Despite what the rest of the world may portray us to be...

As mentioned before, these pictures are only a reflection of the poverty stricken areas within SA (but just look at those happy faces), seeing these portraits along with the comments by certain viewing parties involved, I must say; "Ignorance is bliss!"

And its Soccer, not football!!!

Posted by Naledi July 1, 09 09:46 AM

"El soccer es Universal"
Fotografías muy bien logradas....un saludo desde México para el resto del planeta.

Posted by Cuitláhuac Ignacio Rodríguez Veytia July 1, 09 01:33 PM

if i was a photographer i would have taken white kids too coz they do play soccer! that black african poor child stuff is played out you need to balance it, then your pics would have been interesting as a whole, now they're on the bandwagon black poor child!

most of them are good though!

Posted by stay rsa July 2, 09 08:15 AM

WONDERFUL PICS, a truth reflection of soccer in Africa and South Africa; while the other side of town fills the stadium at rugby and cricket matches, these are the true soccer lovers and fans. Thanks for the great pics and reflection.

Posted by Wewe July 3, 09 03:59 AM

the photographer is clearly bias against white south africans
and btw... even white south africans play sports....athletics, rugby and soccer WITHOUT shoes untill about age 15+ . so i really dont see whats the big fuss about them not having shoes??

Posted by southafrican July 10, 09 03:18 AM

Haha, I have to laugh at all the people saying "show the nice parts of SA", because I've never seen an impromptu soccer game in the "nice" parts. Who wants to be dodging attack dogs and razor-wire while playing soccer? It wouldn't be allowed.

This is an absolutely fair representation of the SA that I know (having only been in parts of KZN - Umlazi, Madadeni, Kwa Mashu, etc...) This absolutely captured the spirit of those township children who will play soccer on any pitch, even if it's just dirt, use bricks for goals and plastic shopping bags for a ball. Great work!

Posted by Brent July 10, 09 03:07 PM

i don't understand the word "soccer"
all the world call it "Football" game
and what does F.I.F.A. stands for ?
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
so please, why don't call it with the right name ?
awesome photos!

Posted by ignazio July 17, 09 10:31 AM

Absolutly great pictures once again !!!

Posted by Alex July 17, 09 08:24 PM

Must see this picture

Posted by Saju July 18, 09 03:36 PM

To all you South Africans whining and bitching, please learn how to READ before looking at pictures!
" you'll find here some recent scenes of South Africans enjoying football as both participants and fans"
It's not an Essay about the proud of being South African or the development and culture of your country. It's a bunch of cool images, celebrating FOOTBALL (not soccer dumbasses) So if your EGO can't enjoy that, shut you pie hole (and your browser) and go get some fresh air outside.

Posted by Marcelo July 20, 09 02:05 PM


Posted by VAYI July 23, 09 08:03 AM

beautiful land of the beginning

Posted by warren July 25, 09 04:58 PM

Thanks very much for the picture it helps my understanding about culture sports.

Posted by Tisi August 3, 09 07:12 AM

soccer is life my friend,thanks good god

Posted by Anonymous August 16, 09 01:15 PM

These images make me miss home and also make me proud to be South African

Posted by Craig September 3, 09 06:27 AM

wow must b nice to play soccer all day but we cant we have to still run the country or they will b drinking sh*t water and that flag can go in the pile of rubble next to that girl

Posted by haat September 11, 09 04:45 AM


Posted by RONNIE October 7, 09 05:03 AM

Beautiful images of an amazing country. Makes me very homesick, but very proud of the spirit that exists within all South Africans. World soccer fans, do yourself a favour - 2010 will be an experience you cannot miss. There is passion for the earth, the smells, the colors, the people as in South Africa. Rejoice for all its people - they are a proud nation.

Posted by Sharon Lee Fagan October 20, 09 05:20 PM

Hi there
Loved the pics. I am a South African with a passion for those kids. I would like to use some parts of your pics as reference to use in my paintings to help raise money for them. To cut it short, I'm not a well known artist, and would like to have permission to use the pics only as reference for acrilic paintings.
Would you be so kind to reply asap as I would like to start with this project.

Posted by Lehane December 20, 09 04:40 AM

Its funny that your immediate response to these photos is that of "bad" "terrible living conditions" or "poor kids". There is also alot of beauty to be seen in this. These area's actually have an amazing community dynamic. These kids certainly don't feel sorry for themselves. In fact they would probably look down on you for your ignorant view of their world.I study with guys who live in townships like these and they are working towards a degree and bettering themselves, ensuring that their kids will have a better life.

Posted by Jared February 2, 10 11:22 AM

Stunning photos.You really captured some great moments.

Posted by Jean-Michel May 12, 10 01:41 AM

there are very few cases, I cry, but every time I see those pictures, it's something with my tear ducts that react

Posted by Stine May 17, 10 06:09 PM

good pictures awsome stadium

Posted by Anonymous May 20, 10 03:22 PM

Ilove all of the stadiums

Posted by ABENE June 8, 10 04:06 PM

We need to change ?FIFA's ? Rules!

Posted by Mauricio Canizales June 19, 10 12:52 PM
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