Dreams realised and others deferred (2) The general

2010-07-14 09:26

The General

Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates midfield player Teko Modise

did not like football that much in the ­beginning.

“My friends were playing football, so I had to start playing

football,” says the 27-year-old also known as “The General”.

However, it was the

praise and credit he got from friends that launched him into a career in


“They started telling me how good I was, so I started becoming

serious about it.”

While football fans, analysts, and local coaches still rate him an

integral part of the Bafana midfield, the Soweto-born star has had his fair

share of bad luck leading to the World Cup kick-off on Friday – loss of form,

injuries and a misunderstanding with his coach at Pirates.

In response to this, he says: “My biggest challenge is to stay

motivated because there will always be a whole lot of negative stuff written

about us.”

His professional career began when his former youth coach, Steve

Mnguni, recruited him at the age of 17 to Ria Stars’ development academy in

Diepkloof, Soweto. But he subsequently went to the club’s base in Polokwane,

Limpopo, before joining Stars’ city rivals, City Pillars.

At Pillars he showed his true colours, and was spotted by

­SuperSport United.

He did not see out his contract there, however, because he

later signed for the Soweto giants, Pirates.

As Bafana gears up for the opening match against Mexico at Soccer

City on Friday, Modise says he cannot wait for the opportunity and further hints

at his plans to play in England.

The weaver of yarns

On stage, 25-year-old Sanelisiwe Ntuli moves with unabashed

freedom. She is animated and engaging: her sharp hand gestures mark the

territory around her as she crosses the room.

Ntuli is one of 24 storytellers participating in the Kwesukela 2010

Storytelling Project, which will share the story of Africa’s culture, mythology

and heritage with visitors during the World Cup.

South African storytellers will

perform at museums and fan parks in six cities across the ­nation: Johannesburg,

Durban, Cape Town, Rustenburg, Pretoria and Polokwane.

In Johannesburg, daily storytelling performances will take place at

Museum Africa.

Ntuli began telling stories to children in her home town of

Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal. She performs in isiZulu and English, at times fusing

the two languages together seamlessly.

Although she has been telling stories for three years, she says

this project has been life-changing. Never before has she had the opportunity to

meet people from so many regions and cultures across South Africa.

“We want to tell stories about the cultures and the people of South

Africa, highlighting the things that make South Africa unique,” says Londiwe

Ngubane, the creative director of the project.

The World Cup created the ­ideal platform for the project.

Some of the stories Ntuli tells have been transplanted from years

past, while others are the product of her own imagination.

Themes like unity and

leadership saturate her stories, which she hopes will help dispel the

preconceptions that visitors may have of South Africa and the continent.


passion for her work is visible in the way her eyes light up when she discusses

the ­effect she hopes it will have.

“Storytelling has always been a means to teach and progress

knowledge through the generations. It is a way of connecting with human


The concentration on the faces of young and old, men and women,

corporate employees and street vendors alike, delights Ngubane.

“For those 15 minutes they all act like children listening

­intently,” she says.

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