The young fans religiously believe in their country ,and in the game.They see heroes in Teko Modises and Benni McCathys , they also dream of becoming player escorts although they know ,chances are one in a million.They are the forgotten player number 12.They live in informal settlements ,in farms ,in mining areas and in rural areas.But the passion they have is just amazing.With or without a vuvuzela ,they hope to be part of the excitement surrounding the spectacle.But are we really having them in the picture? To me it feels like they are The Forgotten South African Children ,left behind in what we envision as a successful ,once in a lifetime and once in Africa soccer World Cup event.Even street Children have had a fair chance to play their Street Child Soccer World Cup in Durban ,and so were many other development programmes in townships especially Soweto and Khayelitsha.
Realising that we have forgotten about a special segment of the society ,we have not even considered their safety ,their interests and their needs.South Africa has more than 9million children on grants and that only tells a lot about those children’s daily struggles.Having a television set at home would be a luxury( SA statistics) have proven it !You see by their love of wrestling that when it is time to watch John Cena they risk even being caught in a shabeen or club ,learning against windows or doors as they try to catch a glimpse of the action.
We can never be all the same and we are not all privileged.An ideal world would have our children safely watching televisions at home.But that is a dream ,but there is a way.Children are very comfortable and safer at school , crèches ,church and at home than near alcohol outlets.We can never stop them going there if there is not any option for them ,where they can watch their favourite programmes.But for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,conditions need to be a little better.Most people who own televisions where people usually go to watch games over weekend usually charge a few rands or you have to buy to have the priviledge of watching their TVs.
But what of giving TV sets to rural communities.To schools ,churches and other child-friendly environments? Would that not make a difference? After all i dream of watching the FIFA world Cup in style,watching with communities ,in different areas until the final!I so look forward to share the joy with all soccer fans and share the memories with those i love most when the soccer spectacle is long over.But i want memories of smiling faces ,watching a communal TV for free .Especially children.
These smiling faces will be more happier if we afford them safer and child friendly TV viewing environments.They might be far away from the glitz and glamour of Johanesburg ,Pretoria ,Durban ,Cape Town and Rusternburg where the FIFA 2010 soccer matches will be played ,but still they are part of mzansi. With a long holiday ,TV accessible to them would be an added advantage.
Now it is upto South African corporates and well-wishers to support the Screens4Hope initiative and have these children smiling more.!