Football in the Shadows of the 2010 World Cup
by Ron Krabill — University of Washington Bothell
November 09, 2010 – 00:00
“2010 is just a year … most of them are unemployed, so there’s nothing special about this year.”
- Thulani, Goalkeeper and Manager Red Tigers Football Club
Throughout South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup, officials claimed the tournament would generate jobs and provide economic growth. Meanwhile, social critics pointed out the immense expenditures on stadiums and security for foreign visitors in the midst of a nation still suffering the staggering weight of apartheid policies, with a majority of the population facing severe unemployment and limited access to adequate education, housing, health care, and the like. But underneath media debates regarding the Cup and whether its impact was positive or negative, life continued on. The vast majority of South Africans were unable to attend even a single match of the 2010 World Cup on home soil, yet many experienced a different vibe than normal. Thulani, the goalkeeper and manager for the Red Tigers FC featured in this video, echoed a ubiquitous marketing campaign when he said, “I’m feeling it. It is here.”
The stories of the Red Tigers and countless other players and fans (as well as those with no particular interest in the sport) had difficulty surfacing amidst the hype – both locally and internationally – surrounding “Africa’s World Cup.” Their stories put into perspective mega-events such as the World Cup. Beneath the grand claims of government and business leaders, local communities engaged with the event in their own ambivalent ways; as Thulani said, “it is only the vibe that we people create for ourselves.”
“The Red Tigers” was produced as part of My World Cup, a community media collaboration designed as an outlet for some of these stories. Young video journalists associated with Cape Town Community Television (including Sisa Nobanda who is seen interviewing Thulani in this video) worked with teams of students from the University of Washington to create these short videos in partnership with many individuals, 911 Seattle Media Arts Center, Seattle Sounders FC, and several units of the University of Washington. The resulting videos do not tell (nor claim to tell) the whole story of South Africa during the tournament, but they do give us a small taste of what took place in the shadows of the World Cup.