Pics – Victims of the beautiful game

2010-07-08 13:42

The Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit was built on ancestral land

previously owned by the Mdluli clan.

In 2003, Didiza awarded the land to Phineas Mdluli, a family

patriarch and chief of the Mdlulis and the rest of his clan members.

Unfortunately, a few of the younger Mdluli trustees have been

accused of mismanaging the trust. They donated the 118 hectares of land to the

Mbombela municipality for a mere R1 in return for jobs for the beneficiaries of

the trust.

It is also said that they own a company with two Mbombela

municipality officials who were responsible for securing the site for the World

Cup stadium.

While Phineas has celebrated his nation hosting the 2010 Fifa World

Cup, he feels heart-sore that the ancestral land has been abused and that so few

people from the Mdluli tribe and surrounding community have benefited.

Forty-one year-old Esther Mbyame has been a teacher at the Mataffin

school in Nelspruit for seven years.

The stadium developers demolished the original brick-built school

in 2007 to build the 46 000-seat, billion-rand Mbombela Stadium.

The school children were relocated to prefabricated buildings a few

miles away, which were unventilated, hot, and humid.

Mbyame said: “In these prefabricated containers up to six pupils

were collapsing each day from the heat. After the mid-morning break we no longer

tried to teach because we knew no-one could concentrate.”

It took three years of protesting and the school children burning

the prefabricated school down before the Mbombela municipality built a brick

school for the children just a few months before the World Cup began.

Mbyame said: “I’m really happy we finally have a proper classroom

to teach our children. It’s been a disruptive three years but now we can move

forward and our children can have a better education.”

Amanda Nkosi, a 35-year-old single mother of two, has been living

in Mataffin community her whole life.

One day, on her way back from work, she was shot in the leg by the

police during a protest against the children having to be taught in an

unventilated prefab school.

She was in hospital for nearly six months and lost her job as a

result. Currently unemployed and disabled, Amanda struggles to support her

family. She has made a claim against the police but nothing has come of


It is hard for her to be happy about the World Cup when it has only

brought her misery.

Esther Khoza, a 57-year-old local, lives in a mud shack without

electricity, running water or a toilet in the shadow of Mbombela Stadium in

Mataffin, Nelspruit.

The local municipality promised the community better

infrastructure, new roads, decent housing, electricity, water and sanitation but

so far nothing has been forthcoming.

Khoza said: “There are no services here. I feel happy that we are

hosting this World Cup but I do not have time to think about football. My

worries are greater.”

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