SOWETO GHETTO A LEAGUE OF NATIONS
SOUTH Africans on the fringes of the 2010 soccer World Cup are finding creative ways to get in on the action.
Floyd Mahlangu, Bongani Mashinini, Vusi Mthembu and Themba Malangabi have collected the flags of the 32 nations in the World Cup finals and hoisted them on to lamp posts on a street in Zola South, Soweto.
Bolane Road stretches from Jabulani Mall to Zola. A few kilometres down the thoroughfare, if you turn right into Maphango Street, right on the corner, you are greeted by a South African flag. Thirty one other flags line the street and at the other end another South African flag flutters in the mild breeze.
Maphango Street now resembles "a United Nations" of sorts.
The initiative, they say, is meant to create excitement around the soccer spectacle because residents felt excluded from the ongoing festivities.
Money was apparently to blame for this sentiment.
"We realised that excitement for the World Cup was low here because people perceive the tournament as an event for rich people," said Mashinini. "The R140 tickets are also out of the reach of many people here."
Mahlangu said Zola, like many other sections of Soweto, is deprived of tourism because of their perceived violent nature.
"We thought this campaign could get Zola the attention it needs from tourists and maybe create jobs in the process," Mahlangu said.
He said that Zola was not as violent as some people thought.
"People around here have grown up and realised that crime does not pay."