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2010 World Cup. One year on, was it worth it? 0

It is late, the sun already set. The cold wind sweeps across the Cape Flats bringing with it an ocean chill. She walks alone through the bushy field on her way home. Something moves in the dark.

It frightens her but she has no choice but to push on. Moments later her young, broken body lies cold and lifeless, alone. A colder man, stinking of rape and murder, creeps away like a ghost into the night.

Morning brings discovery, one that shakes the small community of Heideveld to its core. In particular, a sixteen year old Sadick da Silva is moved to youthful anger by the gruesome murder of his sister’s best friend. Sadick and a group of friends take matters into their own hands. Borrowing tools from around the neighbourhood, they fall upon the overgrown bush hacking away until is clear. Their actions cannot restore a life but never again will the bush be an accomplice to such things.

The year is 1971. The young people’s anger gives new life to a space which becomes a communal field, a place where children laugh, play and grow in sports, particularly soccer. Youth Action, an informal “social activist” group, is born. Nearly forty years later, the field is still in use and da Silva’s life is still married to the beautiful game.

Today, his Cape Flats Soccer Development (CFSD) is taking soccer to the streets across twelve Flats communities, each one battling unemployment, poverty, gangs, drugs and crime. This is CFSD’s solution for keeping youth away from negative social influences by engage them in soccer, education and positive social values.

“Development is not a moment, a fancy event,” says the soft-spoken Manenberg resident “it is an on going process”.

Despite having been retrenched in 2008, da Silva has kept CFSD running together with his team of volunteers, many of whom are unemployed, out of the knowledge that these are their children, these are their communities.

“What happens with our kids out of school hours, on weekends and on holidays? This is when they are taking drugs, fighting in gangs and when their minds are bored and open to bad things…if I can keep a child busy for four hours during their free time it can mean the difference between life and death, literally!”

And while the World Cup is over a chance meeting with the Globe-Trotter team of World Tour in sOLidarity, an initiative of French first division club Olympique Lyonnais and its Foundation, has given CFSD a significant boost. Despite having visited twenty-six countries across Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa, it was sOLidaire’s time in South Africa during the World Cup, and their meeting with CFSD in particular, that was the highlight of the tour. So taken with CFSD and its work, the team motivated for the creation of a “Heart Award”. The result, a R40 000 prize which has been a lifeline and is being used to further the education aspect of CFSD’s work.

“What we are really about is a holistic approach to community upliftment. It starts with soccer but its really about education,” says da Silva who is using the money to start an education centre aimed at helping failed matriculants to complete their grade 12, improve marks towards accessing tertiary education and becoming economically active. A feeding scheme and entrepreneurial training is also part of a future plan.

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By Howard Drakes – Freelance journalist and writer

Source: South Africa the Good News

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