Holly & Holloway's World Cup Holiday

Township Tour and the Algeria game
June 20, 2010, 14:18
Filed under: Uncategorized

Goodness me, I’ve got such a lot to tell you since my last blog post.  So much has happened!

Last Thursday was my favourite day of the trip so far.  It was split into two parts.  First of all we visited a township called Masiphumelele (have fun trying to pronounce that!).  Townships in South Africa are the places where most of the non-white African population ended up living during the Apartheid years.  Most townships are extremely poor places where people live in huts made out of wood or metal sheets.  There is usually a very high level of unemployment which makes it very hard for families to move to better places.  Also, South Africa has a very high number of people infected with HIV and AIDS, and we were told that Masiphumelele has the highest rate in the country.

All of this sounds very bad, and for a European like me it’s quite a disturbing place to be.  But after a while you realise that, just like the other parts of South Africa, the people are very friendly and most of them seem fairly happy despite their poverty.  This made the whole thing rather strange because on the one hand you felt very shocked at how people there have to live, but at the same time quite uplifted by their spirit in the face of such disadvantage.

After the trip to Masiphumelele we travelled to the nearby town of Fish Hoek.  Unlike Masiphumelele, Fish Hoek is a fairly wealthy area and quite a pleasant place to be.  We went to a sports ground where some of the people on the tour played a game off football against the Masiphumelele team.  The weather was superb so spending the afternoon watching the game and enjoying a barbeque was very nice indeed!  Most of the people on the tour had brought old football shirts with them from home to donate to the township, and after the game hundreds of these were presented to them, along with some money to help them extend Masiphumelele’s creche.

All in all the day was very enjoyable and very valuable as it gave us an excellent insight into how the poorest people in the country live.

Unfortunately, the next day wasn’t quite so good!  I’m sure those of you who watched England’s game against Algeria know what I mean.  It was such a bad performance, the players didn’t look interested and we were outplayed by a team that we should have easily beaten.  The stadium in Cape Town is very big and it was three quarters full of England fans who sang and encouraged the team noisily throughout the game despite the poor performance.  Many people were pretty angry at the end so it wasn’t surprising that there were boos.  Wayne Rooney’s comments about the fans were out of order and very insulting to those of us who have forked out thousands of pounds to be there and spent the whole game cheering them on.  Something seems to be wrong with the England team.  They’d better sort it out before Wednesday or else they’ll be going home early!

This morning we went up Table Mountain.  Table Mountain in Cape Town is South Africa’s most famous landmark, a huge, flat-topped mountain that rises up and towers over the city.  There’s a cable car that takes you up to the top and when you get there the views are stunning.  Looking down on the clouds way below you is a strange experience and you can see for miles and miles into the distance.  See if you can spot the football stadium in the picture below:

Thanks for the questions you sent me after my last post.  I shall answer them now!

Zach: After Friday night’s performance I don’t think I have a favourite player!  It most certainly isn’t Rooney now!  Steven Gerrard was one of my favourites but I thought he was one of the laziest against Algeria.  I shall say David Beckham, because, although he is injured, he is a hero!
Victoria: That’s an excellent question.  The most obvious evidence is, of course, the townships.  These are a legacy of Apartheid that will take many years to remove.  But other than that I have been very surprised that there is very little evidence of it generally between the black, white and coloured (for example people of Asian or Middle-Eastern origins) people.  I would have expected there to be bitterness against the whites but I’ve not really picked up on any at all.  It is refreshing that it seems people are much more interested in looking forwards than looking backwards.  They are also very proud of their country.
Joseph: What a surprising result that was!  Even after the Swiss scored we thought that Spain would come back and win, but as the game went on it seemed that it wasn’t going to be Spain’s day.  That, together with France and Germany being beaten means it’s going to be very interesting to see which of the favourites fails to qualify.
Olivia: The prison on Robben Island was not a pleasant place.  It was OK for us to walk around, but seeing how small the cells were, and trying to imagine how overcrowded it must have been, it made us feel quite uncomfortable.  It was also a little strange having an ex-prisoner take us around.  He’s pretty brave to come back and work there, but I guess he feels it’s important for people from around the world to know what it was like.  He’s right.
Georgia: We were told when we went into Masiphumelele not to give anyone any money, even though a small amount to us would be a lot to them.  If we gave money it would encourage them to beg, which would not be good.  So in the township no-one asked us for money.  But in Cape Town there are sometimes beggars waiting at traffic lights.  When the lights go red they wander around the cars asking for money.  It’s not very nice to see, but then again there are lots of homeless beggars in London too, so it’s not just here that it in South Africa that it happens.

Keep the questions coming!  Tomorrow we’re going down to Cape Point which is supposed to be beautiful, we’re also hoping to go on a whale-watching boat trip, and then on Wednesday we have to get up at 3am to fly to Port Elizabeth for England’s game against Slovenia.  Now, that game is on at 3pm UK time, so I think Mrs Griffiths needs to let you all go home early so you can watch it!



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Hi Rob,

Sorry for not writing back earlier, we have been very busy this week! It’s half past 2 and we have been allowed to go home early to watch the football!! Hooray!!

It sounds like you’ve been having a great time, we have some more question!!

1. Joe: What do you think about the ball being used at the World Cup?

2. Eva: Do you hear lots of other football fans in Cape Town after the matches?

3. Max: WHat is the South African mascot like?

4. Ellis: Why do you support Swindon Town?

5. Daisy: Have you seen any penguins yet?

6. Sam/Joe: Was there any trouble when South Africa went out yesterday?

You must be at the ground now… hopefully next time you write England will be through to the last 16!!

Emjoy the game,

Holly Class

Comment by Holly Class

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