8 April 2010
“My name is Zukisa. My friends call me ‘The Wall’ – nothing can pass me, even Ronaldo” … a team of young footballers who call themselves the A-Stars feature in a commercial filmed by Justin Bonello of BBC TV programme “Cooked” in aid of the Dreamfields Project, which uses football for community development in South Africa.
According to Bonello, he was driving back to Cape Town after filming in Somerset West one afternoon last year when something he saw provided a moment of inspiration.
“There were these impromptu soccer matches taking place on the side of the N2,” Bonello writes on the Dreamfields Project blog. “I started thinking: ‘Would I want my son to play soccer here?’ And the answer was no.
“We then started looking for a charity we could partner with.”
Bonello got in touch with Dreamfields, shared his vision for a short film – and the crew from Cooked in Africa Films was soon headed for Nyanga township where, under the direction of Corne van Rooyen, they began filming the A-Stars boys.
The result was stunning – and the judges of the M-Net Vuka! Awards agreed. The Vuka! Awards were set up to encourage film companies and ad agencies to make TV commercials for causes close to their hearts. The Dreamfields commercial made it through to the finals of the 2009 competition.
“We decided to put together a positive story with real kids,” says Bonello. “We produced it in six hours, with no budget, and made the finals with some of the big boys. Brilliant!”
The Dreamfields Project, brainchild of journalist John Perlman, is using the excitement generated by the 2010 Fifa World Cup to bring soccer fields and equipment – as well as business skills and new social partnerships – to disadvantaged communities across South Africa.
The project, which has already attracted some heavyweight corporate backing, raises money to upgrade existing sports facilities in townships and rural areas, and to build new fields in at least 32 regional soccer centres by the end of 2010.
The organisation also supplies communities with “Dream Bags”, each containing 11 footballs and 15 full sets of kit, and works with the government and other organisations to bring coaching and sports management skills programmes to communities.