A World Cup for all – introducing the Poor People's World Cup
25 June 2010
South Africa is a country of opposites. On the one hand, there is the wealth, affluence and beauty that has flooded the media in the build up to the World Cup. And on the other, there the over two out of five of the population that live below US$2.
These opposites mean two World Cups – the FIFA World Cup and the Poor People's World Cup held by War on Want's partner the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC).
In the build up to the official World Cup, the poor in South Africa became increasingly aware that the games were not for them. This was drummed home when hundreds of poor people were evicted from their homes to make way for stadia and training grounds, thousands of traders were evicted from their places of work near tourist sites and many poor and homeless people were thrown into transit camps far away from the eyes of tourists. It was reinforced by the growing housing waiting list and the lack of basic public services such as electricity and water with no resources to deal with these problems, whilst world class stadiums were built for the games.
The AEC, which works in the Western Cape, went to their communities and asked them how they wanted to respond to being shut out of the games. Rather than demonstrate, they said they wanted to celebrate football and invite people into their homes.
From this the Poor People's World Cup was born. 36 teams from 40 communities are battling it out over four consecutive Sundays at a local football pitch near Cape Town. The current group stages see local teams draw countries, some of which play in the FIFA World Cup, and others chosing to represent Palestine, Zimbabwe and Somalia.
With each team eagerly embracing their new nationality, flags from all over the country were waved at the games and the competition is heating up in the run up to the final on 4 July.
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